Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said, “My worry is that Medicare is now considered untouchable by Democrats and therefore we’ll turn to Medicaid. There isn’t the passion to defend Medicaid because the Medicaid population doesn’t represent a political threat.” In an interview with KHN, Rockefeller discussed his concerns for the program and for the people who rely on it.
Facing budget shortfalls and a sluggish economy, many U.S. states are proposing Medicaid cuts for fiscal year 2012, according to a new report from the National Association of State Budget Officers and the National Governors Association (NGA).
Thirty-three states have proposed lowering provider payment rates to nursing homes, hospitals and physicians to help deal with shortfalls, while 16 states have floated provider payment freezes, and 25 states are expected to introduce benefits freezes, the report said.
In addition, some states are considering limiting spending on prescriptions drugs and instituting or increasing co-payments to reduce Medicaid shortfalls.
Many forecasts predict an increase of 18.6 percent in Medicaid spending for states and a decrease of 13 percent in federal funds, according to the report.
“As states look ahead, it is not just the economy that gives them pause, but also the aging of our population and the seemingly inexorable increase in health care costs,” said Dan Crippen, NGA Executive Director. Paul Wilson