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Cutting “Optional” Services in Medicaid shouldn’t be an Option

As legislators struggle with budget problems, once again the specter of either turning NC’s award-winning Medicaid program over to private industry or cutting so-called “optional” services like transplants, hospice care, or respiratory therapy for children are rumored ideas. Luckily, the Senate’s budget bill doesn’t include such draconian measures. However, once again (we seem to do this every six months or so), we offer a review of why so-called “optional” services under Medicaid are really critical parts of the health system people actually need. Here’s a selection of recent posts Adam Linker, Rob Schofield, Chris Fitzsimon and I have done on this topic:

Mother Sara Gamble explains why one “optional” service under Medicaid (the Community Alternatives Program) – is critical for her son and family [1].

Overview – why Medicaid optional services are not optional [2].

Mammography [3] – that’s not really an “optional” service is it?

Ambulance transportation [4] – who really needs this “optional” service anyway?

Artificial limbs [5] for people who have lost a foot or an arm – truly an overrated “optional” service.

Alternatives [6] to cutting so-called “optional” services.

Chiropractic care [7] is an extremely limited benefit used only in certain situations.

Hospice [8] – great care and respect at the end of life characterizes this “optional” service.