The maddening debate continues over the state’s growing Medicaid shortfall that has now reached $150 million in the current fiscal year and is projected to reach $250 million in 2012-2013.
The budget passed by Republicans last summer directs HHS Secretary Lanier Cansler to cut services and/or reimbursement rates to providers if the savings built into the budget are not realized.
Administration officials told legislative leaders at the time the savings were unrealistic and even some Republicans pointed out that budget writers were playing games like double counting a cut in the inflationary increase in the program. The budget included the savings anyway.
A couple of months ago Cansler asked lawmakers for advice and Rep. Nelson Dollar told him at a public meeting not to cut services or reduce rates, even though the budget orders him to, and that Republicans would work with HHS to find a way to address the shortfall without cutting services to people who need them.
But Dollar and his colleagues have since refused to help, with Rep. Justin Burr saying Tuesday that it’s all Gov. Beverly Perdue’s problem to solve.
It is not really that complicated. The Republicans needed to slash Medicaid funding to pay for their tax cut. Now they don’t want the blame for the pain the cuts will cause.