Secretary Lanier Cansler and division directors spent the better part of Tuesday outlining efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to make $356 million in cuts required in the state budget.
Cansler told the legislative oversight committee that despite their best efforts, the department would fall $139 million short this year in meeting the budget mandate. He cautioned the only way to fill the hole in North Carolina’s Medicaid program would be to eliminate all optional services, or impose an across the board rate reduction of 18%.
Wake County Rep. Nelson Dollar, one of the legislature’s chief budget writer, told Cansler that slashing services or reimbursements to physicians who treat Medicaid patients was not an option:
“From our perspective, we certainly don’t want to see…. any, you know, across the board rate reductions, because of potentially what it would mean for the system…given that we’ve had rate reductions,much larger rate reductions,that occurred back in 2009, which sometimes people lose track of that. They shouldn’t lose track of that.”
Dollar said legislators will work with HHS to find to “a sufficient number of one time funds” to close the Medicaid gap for this fiscal year.
To hear a portion of Secretary Cansler’s exchange with Rep. Dollar, click below: