Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Medicaid Patients could lose coverage

Half of North Carolina Medicaid Patients could Lose Coverage under House Budget Plan:
Federal Funding for NC would Plummet Under Block Grant Scheme
Raleigh, NC -

Half of Medicaid patients in North Carolina could lose their coverage if the budget plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives were made into law, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

North Carolina would receive nearly 40 percent less federal Medicaid funding over the next 10 years. The $61 billion drop in funding would be the 11th highest percentage decrease in federal Medicaid funding in the nation.

The House-passed budget plan repeals the planned Medicaid expansion currently in law under the Affordable Care Act and makes Medicaid a block grant, limiting federal dollars to the states and preventing the Medicaid program from expanding to cover more people during recessions.

"Currently, children enrolled in Medicaid are guaranteed preventive care and necessary follow-up treatment and services," said Barb Bradley, President and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, a statewide nonpartisan, nonprofit child advocacy organization. "These changes would eliminate these protections for children, as well as repealing the maintenance of effort (MOE) protections that currently prevent states from rolling back Medicaid eligibility for children, parents, the disabled and others. This would be devastating for children in our state."

The changes would also pertain to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which insures children in low-income families. States could choose to cut back or even completely eliminate their CHIP programs.

Medicaid and Health Choice (North Carolina's CHIP program) currently insure over one million children in North Carolina - nearly half the child population of the state.

House-passed budget plan would mean big drop in Medicaid funding for NC

The Kaiser Commission report found that over the next ten years, North Carolina would receive 39 percent fewer federal dollars for Medicaid under the House-passed budget plan than under current law - the 11th highest percentage drop in the nation. North Carolina would lose $61.1 billion over 10 years. In the year 2021, North Carolina would receive only about half - 49 percent - of the federal spending on Medicaid as expected under current law.

Half of Medicaid enrollees could lose coverage

Medicaid enrollment in North Carolina would drop by 50 percent by 2021 under the House-passed budget plan, assuming current spending per enrollee and cuts spread evenly across all groups.

Hospitals, NC economy would suffer

North Carolina's hospitals would also lose out. By 2021, federal and state Medicaid payments to hospitals in North Carolina would have fallen by 44 percent. North Carolina hospitals would lose $2.7 billion in 2021 alone.

The decrease in federal Medicaid spending would be a blow to North Carolina's economy. An article in the North Carolina Medicaid Journal found that in 2003, Medicaid supported 182,000 jobs in North Carolina. Federal Medicaid spending has only grown since then. (North Carolina Medical Journal, "Economic Impacts of Medicaid in North Carolina," March/April 2008)

The House passed their budget on April 15. The U.S. Senate has not yet voted on a budget plan.

The Kaiser report is available online at:

Action for Children North Carolina is a leading statewide nonprofit organization based in Raleigh and is the 2008 winner of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits' Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award. Since its founding in 1983, Action for Children has been the leading voice for North Carolina's children. Action for Children is the KIDS COUNT partner in North Carolina and the state affiliate of the national organization, Voices for America's Children.
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