State News

Perdue: Medicaid spending way over budget

Posted December 1, 2009

— Gov. Beverly Perdue said Tuesday that North Carolina's Medicaid program is breaking the budget the legislature gave state officials this summer.

The government health insurance program for low-income children, older adults and the disabled was at least $150 million over budget through the first quarter of the fiscal year, Perdue said.

Teri Geraci, Medicaid recipient Recipients seek resolution to Medicaid funding issues

"It's a real struggle right now," Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler said.

More people are enrolling in Medicaid as the unemployment rate stays high, Cansler said, and the state also has had to spend about $52 million in Medicaid money to respond to the swine flu pandemic.

The number of people expected to enroll in Medicaid this year will be about 18,000 more than state officials projected, he said. The average person receiving benefits is using 4 percent more services than budgeted, he said.

The enrollment and spending trends could require lawmakers to add $72 million to the budget, officials said.

Cansler said about half of the cost overruns are because of delays in federal approval of some cuts proposed by the state to save money.

"We're trying to reduce the budget by $1.5 billion in a year we would normally have grown the budget by $1 billion," he said.

Perdue said she plans to go to Washington, D.C., to look for financial help.

"We have consistently asked them to continue to hold the states harmless for Medicaid," she said.

If the federal government reduces its assistance to Medicaid next fiscal year, however, Cansler said it could cost the state another $500 million.

Medicaid recipient Teri Geraci said she's hopeful that the state can find the money to keep the insurance program running.

"It's essential. We wouldn't be doing OK without it," said Geraci, who fled New Orleans with her two daughters after Hurricane Katrina.


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  • pattip574 Dec 2, 2009

    I work in the healthcare field, and I honestly have to say medicaid dollars could be saved if recipients would stop calling 911 for an ambulance ride to the ER for frivolous complaints. For instance, we see many, many "frequent fliers" who call 911, go to the ER and are seen for fever, sore throats, etc, "just to get checked out". We've seen people go to the ER because they "can't sleep". You'd be amazed at the reasons people will call 911!

  • colliedave Dec 1, 2009

    If Obama care passes medicaid will increase hundreds of millions for all states. That has been confirmed by analysts.

    If Obamacare passes, taxes start in 2010 even though the full bill doesn't take effect until 2013. The Aninted One doesn't want to run for reelection when the smally stuff has firmly hit the fan.

  • time4real Dec 1, 2009

    a LOT of teachers will go, that you can count on, as for Bev, she'll go, right up to Washington and beg for more handouts. Then, when they have no more to give her redneck self she's going to come after us with huge tax increases and tell us, "it's the only choice I had". In the meantime, teachers better start looking!

  • james27613 Dec 1, 2009

    Just wait for the Obama-Care plan that will shift more and more costs to the States. NC will end up like California with all the illegals moving to NC.

  • ladyblue Dec 1, 2009

    I'd like to let you all know also that it's hard to demand drug testing when some of them that are on SSI and medicaid are on it because of alcohol or drug abuse as it is a legit reason to draw the money. Maybe they should change the law that people with addictions are not eligible. but as it stands now the law allows it. I bet that surprised some of you.

  • ladyblue Dec 1, 2009

    WAYS TO SAVE MEDICARE MONEY -1)Test all those for drugs before they receive a dime they must show drug free. 2)Stop supporting those who have babies just as an avenue to get $$. 3)Stop giveing assistance to illegals here in our country

    there is one thing wrong with yoru theory here-- you must of meant MEDICAID because MEDICARE is for the ones who worked and paid into the system to have a little blanket come retirement time. You don't find many on medicare that are having babies. Now you may find them on supplemental social security who are the ones who are young and claim they can't work so they get SSI which involves automatical medicaid and they can have babies.

  • ladyblue Dec 1, 2009

    Medicaid money to respond to the swine flu pandemic.

    Well just wait until you get the health care package to have to pay for. Federal won't pay you what they promised then either. Of course as people get out of work and UI dries up there will be more and more. With all the taxes NC collects it's no excuse for this state to be hurting as it is. What does government think will happen when they keep adding illegals, and mothers having babies unwed and allowing all the lifers to stay on it forever. It should be set up only for emergency health care for any individual who is in a bind and has no way to get medical atteniton. It should not be a freebie healthcare plan for lazy people as it's becoming..

  • Timetogo Dec 1, 2009

    OK.. so it's OK for non-American citizens to draw from it but when laid off (former TAX PAYING) Americans need it, it's in trouble?

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 1, 2009

    Handsome: I'm thinking across the board. I'm just not sure of the mechanics - whether the various agencies will be told to cut X or cut X% or other. Tax collections are under estimates (and the estimates weren't good). Expenditures (as denoted by this article) are above projections. Head count is the easiest and fastest way to cut costs. Speaking of jobs, what we are experiencing folks is a fundamental shift in the economy. Look for unemployment to remain in the 8-10% range. The Haves may feel the pinch, but the number of Have Nots will continue to grow.

  • Weaker Pelosi Dec 1, 2009

    Garnerwolf: I'm guessing mostly teachers will get layed off. Wake County also said it would cut the school budget by 20 million dollars. Do you agree. Or do you think Dept of Correction, DHHS will feel the brunt?