@NCCapitol

Worry grows over possible Medicaid cuts as leaders shift blame

Posted December 7, 2011

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A projected $139 million hole in Medicaid funding next year has state health officials worried about how cuts would affect 1.5 million of North Carolina's most vulnerable citizens.

The state Department of Health and Human Services has warned state lawmakers that, unless the shortfall is filled, many programs will likely be eliminated, including in-home care and mental health, hospice and dental services. The agency may also be forced to further cut reimbursements to medical providers who treat Medicaid patients.

Republican leaders, who penned this year's budget, say it's Gov. Bev Perdue's problem to fix.

"I'm not sure that the hoopla we're seeing is really justified at this point," said Republican budget writer Sen. Pete Brunstetter.

Rep. Nelson Dollar agreed.

"The governor does have broad powers to manage the budget of the state of North Carolina (and) to execute that budget," Dollar said.

Medicaid funding woes threaten mental health programs Medicaid funding woes threaten state's mental health programs

Democratic Rep. Verla Insko, however, said the governor does not have the authority to take money from the state budget and funnel it toward a specific program.

Earlier this week, Perdue accused Republicans of reneging on an agreement to plug the funding gap with budget surplus or rainy day funds. House Speaker Thom Tillis responded that the legislature was only considering its options when talking about infusing cash into the Medicaid system and had made no promises to do so.

While the two sides butt heads over who is responsible to come up with a solution, 1.5 million North Carolina residents who rely on Medicaid remain in limbo about what services they can count on in 2012.

Alison Davis, a single mother with three sons with autism, said she's worried about what would happen if her children lost state-funded care.

"They're not going to be able to develop their self-help skills. They're not going to be able to be independent. They're not going to be able to hold a job. They're not going to be able to even shower or dress themselves," Davis told legislators Wednesday.

She implored lawmakers to find a way around drastic cuts.

"We have to do better," she said. "These cuts are not acceptable."

54 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • cmeyrowitz Dec 12, 2011

    What we need to do now is to redesign Medicare according to principles and strategies that actually improve the protections it provides seniors and at an affordable cost to them and to our children and grandchildren. Medicare should operate under a real budget, similar to other basic programs such as defense. The alternative approach to operating a budget is to allocate funds directly to Medicare beneficiaries so that the spending decisions are essentially “bottom up” and ultimately under the control of enrollees rather than health care or government officials. Medicare should be strengthened with catastrophic protection and thus become “real insurance.” The traditional fee-for-service form of Medicare should be converted into a premium-based system. Finally, premium support should be systematically linked to the income of seniors (http://eng.am/stUknA).

  • storchheim Dec 8, 2011

    Yes, "a bit of paper". Then it doesn't matter if "Mom" forgets her birth certificate because it's on file.

    See how that works? No, you'd rather be angry. And I'm done responding to you.

  • haggis basher Dec 8, 2011

    "The real people who get stuck with that cost are those with private insurance. Doctors and hospitals charge everyone more to make up for the people who skip out on their bills."

    and some have a problem making sure that most if not all have insurance.......

  • haggis basher Dec 8, 2011

    "They receive it nonetheless. The benefits are disbursed, then the process of checking their status begins. It may take 3 months to determine that. If they're found to be illegal, how many do you think are tracked down and made to repay?"

    So when you or you Mom goes in for treatment how would you feel if you were told sorry but you can't get treatment for 3 monthes just in case you are not here legally? How would you prove that you are you and that you really are a citizen? A bit of paper? you want docs to play cops and check that your bit of paper is genuine and that other kids is not? Do you want docs sending a child with a broken arm back out into the cold just because Mom forgot her birth certificate?
    How about the US faces up to the fact that its supposed to be a modern civilized country and stop charging for health-care that in EVERY other western country provides free at the point of use? It even costs less that the third world system the US uses now!

  • bill0 Dec 8, 2011

    "They receive it nonetheless. The benefits are disbursed, then the process of checking their status begins. "

    Medicaid does not go to the individual. Money is sent to the provider. If the claim is bogus, the provider is responsible. Taxpayers don't foot the bill.

    The real people who get stuck with that cost are those with private insurance. Doctors and hospitals charge everyone more to make up for the people who skip out on their bills.

  • storchheim Dec 8, 2011

    "your obviously embelishing the truth...." - LS

    And your proof of that is....?

  • storchheim Dec 8, 2011

    "a great percentage of waste is in the form of Medicaid fraud being practiced by providers - not the recipients." - Zong

    And any money recouped does not go back into the Medicaid pot.

    It goes to the schools.

  • storchheim Dec 8, 2011

    "hire a few more people interested in saving the state money instead of figuring out ways to help people get on medicaid who don't need it." - whatusay

    And start at the top.

  • storchheim Dec 8, 2011

    " Illegal immigrants are not entitled to Medicaid."

    They receive it nonetheless. The benefits are disbursed, then the process of checking their status begins. It may take 3 months to determine that. If they're found to be illegal, how many do you think are tracked down and made to repay? Especially when growing eligibility numbers equate to a bigger empire for those in charge of the State Division of Medical Assistance? You know, the ones who initiated the programs of taking a teenage "at-risk" kid to the movies for $60/hr?

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Dec 8, 2011

    "The one group that has seen income skyrocket over the last few decades"

    Be sure to include those career politicans in D.C. who have illegally benefited from insider trading.

    If you want to blame the woes on someone, place the blame where it counts. Washington.

    You have the right to change jobs, but you can't do much with only one vote.

More...