Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is Medicaid Getting the Axe?

In states across the nation, Medicaid funding is getting chopped in efforts to improve floundering government budgets. Among the most staggering cuts are those in Maine, which will remove $220 million from the Medicaid budget. Is this a solution that has become unavoidable?

Maine’s proposal comes on the back of bipartisan support at the congressional level. Experts insist that Medicaid has taken harder hits than this in the past, and that “The size of Maine’s Medicaid shortfall is substantial, but it pales in comparison to gaps in many other states.” In fact, Illinois is looking at closing a $2 Billion hole this year.

According to senators supporting the cuts, Medicaid has had this coming for a while. “Senator Syverson says Illinois has allowed people to collect Medicaid even though they don't meet the income requirement,” reads one article fighting for reform instead of cuts. “[They] aren't residents of the state, and some people even collect Medicaid under multiple names.”

Reform is on the top-of-mind in Maine, where Republican Governor Paul LePage calls for an end to “free lunches” for healthy young adults taking advantage of the system.

But LePage also wants to get at enrollment, and this is what makes him, at the moment, the most draconian of the governors when it comes to health policy. In his Jan. 24 state of the state speech, LePage argued that “we have encouraged people to rely on the taxpayers, rather than rely on themselves.” The cuts to enrollment, he argues, are necessary to shore up the state’s safety net so it can continue to care for its most vulnerable residents — children, elders and the disabled.

We’ll follow up, in our next post, with some more of the strong arguments for and against Medicaid cuts.


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at Pamela.Argeris@merrillcorp.com.

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