Red or blue state, Medicaid cuts will sting

Texas and Connecticut represent the "red state" and "blue state" divide in the United State, but both of their providers are hurting due to current or planned cuts to Medicaid.

In the Lone Star State, 2011 cuts to its dual-eligible program--including prompting enrollees to pay Medicare co-payments on their own--is creating a health emergency for its oldest and poorest population, reported the Associated Press. Although the co-pays were recently eliminated, payments to physicians were reduced, prompting concerns about access to providers.

In Connecticut, the state's hospital lobby has expressed fears that its constituents will be hurt by plans to cut in half payments to treat underinsured and uninsured patients, and then eliminate them over the next couple of years, according to the New Haven Register. Altogether, this would generate savings of $341 million in 2015, but disproportionate share facilities such as Yale-New Haven Hospital could lose more than $100 million in revenue over the next couple of years.

"These cuts are beyond any pale of reasonableness and it just seems as if there is a real sense that the state doesn't have any obligation to adequately fund the insurance programs that it delivers to folks," Stephen Frayne, senior vice president of health policy for the Connecticut Hospital Association, told the Register.

Frayne expressed puzzlement as to why the cuts are coming as planned changes in Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act kick in next year, including paying for single adults in Medicaid.

By contrast, Texas is not likely to participate in Medicaid expansion under the ACA.

To learn more:
- read the Associated Press article
- here's the New Haven Register article