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Governors fight Medicaid cuts

The National Governors’ Assn is mounting a surprisingly united front in the battle with the federal government over Medicaid funding . Governors are complaining that the sum of currently proposed and possible federal changes to Medicaid may leave states unable to make up any funding deficit.
Medicaid accounts for 22% of the average state budget, pays for 50% of all long term care and 70% of nursing home costs. Total expenditures for 2004 are estimated at $360 billion, split equally between states and the federal givernment.
Some of the proposed changes look remarkably like the ones implemented in Utah under then-Gov. Mike Leavitt, recently nominated to head HHS. These include (thanks to California HealthLine):
–Allow states to make changes to Medicaid and SCHIP (child health), such as increasing copayments and limiting eligibility, without first obtaining federal waivers;
–Allow local officials to provide different benefits in different parts of a state; and
–Allow states to charge higher fees to higher-income recipients.
Why should the average insurance exec care? Well, this “stuff” usually flows downhill, which likely means cuts in Medicaid reimbursement to providers. Providers will seek to recoup this lost revenue from other sources, particularly those that are soft targets.
Smaller health plans, TPAs, and P&C carriers, take note.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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