In search of a Christmas compromise
Advocates for the disabled are hoping that Governor Bev Perdue and North Carolina’s legislative leaders can find a way to shore up the state’s Medicaid budget without resorting to more cuts.
Last week, media outlets reported that Republican budget writers declined to find $139 million for the projected shortfall, saying the issue was up to the governor to resolve.
The Arc of North Carolina wants to remove politics from this latest budget battle, and resolve the issue before the holidays.
Dave Richard, ARC’s Executive Director, sent a letter Friday to Governor Perdue, Speaker Thom Tillis, and President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, asking that the three work together to avoid a “needless crisis” for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Here’s a excerpt of Richard’s letter:
“The recent accounts of conflict between the Legislative and Executive branches of government over the potential Medicaid shortfall are worrisome. As you know, people with IDD and their families often rely upon Medicaid funded services to be able to live and function in the community. Further reductions in provider rates or the elimination of services would prove devastating for thousands of North Carolinians with disabilities. Already overloaded medical and social service agencies would be forced to cut staff and provide service to fewer people. Many providers would be forced out of business with any further rate reductions, exacerbating the care shortage.
We have heard all of the involved parties express a commitment to avoid drastic cuts to Medicaid. We also understand that finding a solution that avoids such cuts can have complications, both technical and political. It is our request that each of you rise above the political issues, exhibit the strong leadership that has afforded you the important offices you hold, and come to a solution quickly. A solution that is amenable to both sides seems very much in reach, and drawing out the process could lead to an unnecessary crisis.”
You can read the full letter here.
Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler said in November without some flexibility, his department would need to eliminate most all optional services, or impose an across the board rate reduction of 18% to comply with the General Assembly’s spending reductions.