Tuesday, July 05, 2005

PA Budget Deal Reached: Some Medicaid Cuts Reversed

In their annual, "oops!, we forgot we have to pass a budget" session, the PA legislature and the Governor agreed to a budget deal late last night. And, the deal looks to reverse at least some of the draconian cuts that were being made to Medicaid:
Rendell said the deal would restore close to $200 million of the $383 million he proposed eliminating from the Medicaid budget in February. House Republicans, however, said last night that the number was closer to $150 million.

With federal funding drying up, higher health care costs and increased enrollment, Rendell said he had no choice but to impose limits on services this year.

The agreement would lift all caps on prescription drugs and hospital access for women and children, and mean no increase in co-payments.

"This is a tremendous victory for the people who are most medically challenged," Rendell said.

Health care advocates were concerned that the cap on doctors' offices would remain at 18 visits per year, which could be devastating for the disabled or chronically ill.

"If you keep the limits, they will end up in the hospital," said Jonathan Stein, chief counsel for Community Legal Services. "You only hurt the sickest people."

Rendell said he would meet with health care providers and advocates throughout the summer to identify ways to save money.
On the face of it, this looks like a clear victory. But, I guess I am curious as to what the full agreement spells out. Eliminating the caps on how many times really sick people can go to the doctor is such a basic thing.

My question, where is the other 180 million dollars coming from? Is Rendell going to find another source of revenue for the program, or are there still cuts that we are not seeing?

The problem with late night budget agreements is that no one knows any of the details, including most of our glorious State Reps.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter
Unique Readers