Medicaid Frills Cost NC Billions, but GA May Shy Away from Cuts

Medicaid services not required by the federal government but approved by the state legislature in years past cost $4.4 billion in 2010-2011. That accounted for 46 percent of the $10 billion Medicaid budget. North Carolina’s Medicaid program was referred to as a “Cadillac” program in a study by the Lewin Group a few years ago.

The most expensive of the optional services include:

  • Prescription drugs: $1.1 billion
  • Community alternative programs: $809.6 million
  • Mental health: $752.7 million
  • Intermediate care facilities: $482.1 million
  • Personal care: $436.7 million

Other optional services include adult dental care ($143.3 million), physical, occupational and speech therapies ($84.6 million), private duty nursing ($69.2 million), hospice care ($66.6 million), case management ($73 million), transportation ($47.6 million), orthotics and prosthetics ($19 million), routine adult eye exams ($8.4 million), podiatry ($5.5 million), adult visual aids ($5 million), chiropractor ($1.5 million) and hearing aids ($96,303).

Health and Human Services budget writers at the General Assembly have been told there is about a $150 million shortfall in funding to meet expected Medicaid expenses in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. North Carolina could also come up short nearly $400 million more if the state loses a legal quarrel with the federal government over personal services.

House Health and Human Services budget committee chair Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly) says that despite the search for savings, optional services won’t be cut or eliminated.

Burr’s committee was given an adjusted budget target that was $63 million lower than the appropriation for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Some lawmakers say no one is going to cut services during an important election year. Health care providers aren’t taking any chances. They want to make sure they are part of the conversation. Members of the Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, for example, received a total of about $300,000 in campaign contributions in 2010-2011 from medical interests.

That’s not unusual. Democrats received large contributions from health care providers when they wrote the budget. Also some of the committee members are also members of the medical industry, so routinely receive support from colleagues.

This article was posted in Healthcare by Matt Willoughby on May 3, 2012 at 4:52 PM.

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Comments on this article

  • 1

    SteveP May 09, 2012 at 7:41

    Just got another email this morning, regarding Obamacare collusion with Big Pharma. And started wondering if NC might be in the same bed!

  • 2

    MrPoon May 09, 2012 at 8:58

    Where would you cut?Put the infirmed and elderly out of rest homes and assisted living homes and on the streets.Or transfer to a nursing home where the cost is triple.As soon as any politicians cut these programs that benefit the poor they will find themselves out of office and working at a think tank.

  • 3

    Dianne Layden
    Dianne Layden May 09, 2012 at 9:23

    NC should not be footing some of these beyond basic coverages. Is it right for a teenager to get her wisdom teeth pulled out for $3 yet sit in the oral surgeon’s office texting, texting, texting with a free phone while another person must go into hock to pay to have a tooth removed that must be removed because the oral surgeon wants payment up front???

  • 4

    Bruce May 09, 2012 at 10:53

    When will we Americans learn that there is simply no such thing as a free lunch?! As long as we provide excessive benefits, we will incentivize the dole and people will make choices in the interest of protecting and preserving their so-called “entitlements” instead of in the interest of providing for themselves. No one should be dumped on the street or denied life saving or life sustaining care, who genuinely can’t help themselves. But if we aren’t willing to make some sacrifices and take some hits locally to restore fiscal stability and viability, why should we expect any better out of Washington? Suck it up NC! Solve the problem.

  • 5

    Linda May 09, 2012 at 10:57

    North Carolina has chosen most of these optional “frills” to save money. I had a family member who was in a nursing home for a few months costing Medicaid $3000/month. We brought her to live with us with an in home aide though the community alternative program which cost Medicaid $1500 per month. This is a “frill” we should keep.

  • 6

    Bud Royster
    Bud Royster May 09, 2012 at 12:13

    Yeah how about some vent beds in NC? Why is NC tearing NC families a part
    and sending dying family members out of state because NC does not have enough vent beds? SHAME SHAME SHAME ! FRILLS?

  • 7

    Hang n n
    Hang n n May 10, 2012 at 10:12

    The cuts that have already been taken from the elderly and adults with special needs is outrageous. Stop handing out services to the illegals and concentrate on the ones who cannot help themselves. It’s really comforting to know that after you have worked and paid into taxes all these years, you cannot get vision or dental care for the elderly or adults with special needs. Really sad……..

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