Problems identified by Medicaid audit largely result of NC Republican’s own budget

Today’s headlines highlight a audit of the state Medicaid program that shows an over $1 billion shortfall.  ”Shocked, shocked, I tell you!” are Republican Governor Pat McCrory and DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos that the Medicaid agency did not meet its budget:

Dr. Aldona Wos, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said at the news conference that the agency will change the way it operates. “Cost overruns will not be tolerated and will not be acceptable,” she said. “There’s a budget for a reason.”

But the major finding in the audit, the one that has gotten all the headlines, that NC’s Medicaid program wasn’t able to meet the budget set for it by the Republican majority in the General Assembly (and passed over former Democratic Governor Perdue’s veto) shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  As former DHHS Secretary Lanier Cansler said on August 4, 2011:

“It’s just really going to be next to impossible to achieve this budget, and I’m not sure where the legislature will go with that,” Cansler said. “The fact that this budget plays into next year (means next year) is going to be a difficult budget year as well.”

Secretary  Cansler pointed out in a letter sent directly to Republican General Assembly leaders again on October 27, 2011:

…aggressive budget cuts mandated by the General Assembly’s budget are unreasonable and unobtainable.

Of course, despite demanding massive Medicaid cuts, Republican General Assembly members further tied Secretary Cansler’s hands in January 2012 when the prospect of politically harrowing cuts in so-called “optional” services like artificial limbs and cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals were on the table:

The Legislature told Cansler neither to reduce rates drastically for doctors who provide medical services nor scale back optional Medicaid services to close the gap.

Overall, sure, when a health program like Medicaid has had its administrative costs cut to the bone there are going to be reforms that can be made.  They may take hiring more administrators however!  But for the McCrory Administration to express shock – and the state auditor to completely ignore – the fact that warning after warning was given to the Republican General Assembly and anyone else who would listen over the last year and a half that the NC Medicaid program would not be able to meet the unrealistic budget set for it by the NC General Assembly is disingenuous at best.

7 Comments

  1. jlp75

    February 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Sounds like page one of the Republican play book.

    1. Break government.
    2. Complain to the people that government is broken.
    3. Use complaints as justification to further break government.
    4. GOTO step 1, rinse and repeat.

  2. Robert Palombo

    February 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Agree totally with jlp75′s response. It is a sad time for North Carolina and the truly needy citizens who will not be served.

  3. Doug

    February 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Or it could be part of the liberal playbook:
    1. Get a budget that requires you to have fiscal responsibility…
    2. Ignore the budget
    2. Spend like a drunken sailor regardless of the budget parameters set or real world need.
    3. Blame Republicans for attempting to reign in out of control budget spending

  4. Jack

    February 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Looking at history you’ll find that republican presidents spent more and increased the nation’s deficit than did any modern day democratic president. Like VP Chaney said, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”. Is he right, I mean correct in saying that? Is that what republicans believe? If so the stop pointing fingers at democrats.

    Also, when President Clinton left office the budget was balanced and there was a surplus in the national coffer. Then came along George W. and he spent it all as if he were a drunken sailor and a balanced budget became a thing of the past as his off spring “The Great Rescission” loomed ahead and has become his legacy to this great nation. I’ll not mention the wars he got us into.

  5. Adam Searing

    February 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I’ll just point out the former DHHS Secretary Cansler is a Republican who served in the NC General Assembly. Regardless of party, this so-called audit (by a Democrat no less) looks to me like it ignores a pretty big political reason for its criticism.

  6. Doug

    February 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Jack
    You are wrong, Barry has increased from $10 trillion to $16+ trillion so far and he is on the way to $20 as a result of his deficits. When you have spent as much in 8 years as in the prior ~240 then something is wrong. The “great recession” and “stimulus” bribes have never stopped so it is taking us down the wrong path.

  7. Doug

    February 2, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Oh and david, don’t forget to go to “NCIOM: Medicaid Expansion Saves NC $159 million over next two years; saves $65 million over next 10″ to troll that comment too. You can take your schitzophrenia out on me and this “Alex” you hear in your head.