Stimulus Package Leaves States Limited Options To Cut Medicaid

News outlets report on the limited options states can employ to reduce Medicaid costs, including cutting adult dental care.

The federal economic stimulus package provided states with billions of dollars for Medicaid, but it also "temporarily barred states from cutting back on who is eligible for Medicaid," which is "one of the most potent tools states have to control their health care costs and balance their budgets," Stateline.org reports. "As a familiar recessionary cycle kicked in — more people enrolled in Medicaid at exactly the time state budgets were under the most stress — states had limited options at their disposal. The result was a flurry of budget cutting in the areas of Medicaid that states still had control over. Many states made cuts in the rates they pay to reimburse doctors for seeing Medicaid patients. Others cut back on the type or amount of benefits their Medicaid programs would cover. In many cases, these cuts came on top of similar cuts made last year" (Grovum, 5/26).

Michigan Radio reports on one way cuts are being seen in the state: "Last summer the Michigan legislature removed adult dental benefits from Medicaid." That cut coverage to more than 690,000 people. In response, the Community Alliance, a non-profit organization that "helps developmentally disabled people live independent lives," put together "a free dental cleaning day recently in Ann Arbor" (Motson, 5/26).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.