Crisis budgets and the millions of unemployed: States have sharply cut spending on Medicaid

Three States have cut spending on the Medicaid program from the beginning of the pandemic and other residents warned of painful cuts in benefits and services, health insurance, writes Politico.

Кризис бюджетов и миллионы безработных: штаты резко сократили расходы на Medicaid

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States faced with a sudden decline in tax revenues amid the pandemic, announcing deep cuts in their Medicaid programs, to the extent that, as a rapidly on the rise in the number of new unemployed in the United States.

Officials are concerned that they will have to reduce benefits for patients and payments to medical workers in the insurance program for the poor, if States do not receive more Federal aid.

The Medicaid program in the States during the latest economic crisis has cut everything from dental services to orthopedic care, as well as cut payments to hospitals and doctors to balance the cost of other needs such as roads, schools and prisons. Medicaid officials warn that this time the situation could be much worse, because the number of participants in recent years have increased substantially due to the expansion of Obamacare.

“The impending crisis of the Medicaid programs will be bloated by the recession of 2009, said Matt Salo, head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. — The impact will be strong and fast.”

Medicaid, which is one of the largest budget items in most States, provide health insurance to approximately 70 million poor adults, children, people with disabilities, pregnant women. The Federal government on average pays about 60% of the programme costs, with poorer States get a larger share. States have freedom to regulate benefits, payments to providers and eligibility requirements under the supervision of the Federal government.

Now the governors are turning to Congress for help, because there is weigh a new package of support for the rescue of state budgets affected by the pandemic. They are asking legislators to strengthen the payments under the Medicaid program and provide hundreds of billions of dollars in new aid to support budgets.

Of course, Medicaid is facing high demand as the deteriorating economic conditions. But this leaves us face to face with even greater need, at a time when they had less money.

“The brutal nature of the economic downturn is that at a time when you need a social security system, government revenues are reduced, said on 5 may, the Republican from Ohio Mike devine, announced the reduction in the Medicaid program in the state for $210 million in the next two months.

The vast majority of spending cuts to $229 million, made by the Governor of the state of Colorado Jared Polis in early may, was met by Medicaid, although new Federal funds to prevent immediate cuts to benefits or payments to health care providers. The staff of the legislative Committee of the state warned that the number of participants in the Medicaid program could increase by the end of the year 500 000 people.

In Georgia, where, according to forecasts, the number of participants in Medicaid will increase by 567 000, Governor, Republican Brian Kemp and the heads of legislative bodies instructed each Agency to prepare for a 14 percent reduction in all directions.

House Democrats insisting to provide an additional package of $1 trillion in aid to state governments and local authorities and support social protection programmes that can alleviate the pressure on States during a pandemic. Some lawmakers-Republicans questioned the need for additional aid after Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to Finance the rescue of the States.

Congress has provided States with temporary increased Federal spending on Medicaid by 6% in earlier support package. This prompted the Governor of Alaska Mike dunlevy, a Republican, to reduce the cost of Medicaid in the state in April for $31 million, claiming that a temporary increase in the Federal budget will have a value.

Officials of the States basically agreed that an increase is useful, but said it probably will be blurry the expected increase in the number of appeals. The governors say that Congress — in addition to providing at least $500 billion in direct support to States — needs to double increase funding for Medicaid to 12% as it was in the last recession. At least one Republican Senator, Cory Gardner from Colorado, said his staff is in dire need of additional funding for Medicaid to avoid “harmful budget cuts”.

Over the next few months on Medicaid can sign up from 11 to 23 million people. The demand will be even higher, about three quarters of the States that have expanded Medicaid to poor adults in accordance with the Law on affordable medical care.

Since the last recession, the share of state budgets allocated to expenditures for Medicaid grew rapidly, making it a suitable target for cuts. The cost of medical care was on average 15.7% of state budgets in fiscal year 2009, and this figure rose to 19.7% in the 2019 financial year.

Data on enrollment in Medicaid in some States is often lagging behind, making it difficult to determine the number of registrations in the country, the number of applications for unemployment benefits began to grow two months ago. However, some States have begun to report on notable races in the coming months it is expected more significant growth.

In Arizona for the last two months in Medicaid in the health insurance Program children were registered 78 000 people who receive more generous funding from the Federal government. Since mid-March in Virginia, the number of registrations increased by 20%.

In new Mexico, where 42% of the population was already enrolled in Medicaid, the number of registered users in the first two weeks of April increased by about 10 000 people more than expected before the pandemic.

A senior official in Medicaid in new Mexico said that the budget is a serious problem for the state, largely dependent on oil and natural gas. She fears that a prolonged economic downturn could force the state to cancel wage increases to Medicaid providers, who worked last year and another is planned to increase salaries next year almost certainly is not discussed.

States that have adopted a temporary increase in the Medicaid payment from the Congress, it is prohibited to reduce the number of program participants until they get advanced tools. It leaves States the opportunity to reduce insurance payments or payments to providers.

Member of Parliament of the state of Michigan Mary Whitford, Chairman of the Republican Commission for allocation to health, said the number of participants in the Medicaid program could increase from 2.4 to 2.8 million by the end of the year.

“We just planned further reductions,” said Whitford.

Before the pandemic, States spent $72 billion in funds for a “rainy day” — an all-time high, said Brian Sigritz of the National Association of government employees. But this figure is understated due to the fact that Congress has given the state governments and local authorities more than $ 150 billion in the earlier aid package, and it is much less demanding States at the present time.

“Now we expect a more significant decline than what we saw during the great recession and the increasing costs of Sigris. — If Federal funds no longer will States have to pay attention to the cuts to basic services: public safety, education, health. That’s where the money is.”

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