Louisiana: Up to 60K may be kicked off of Medicaid in July
Well this could suck. The Times-Picayune reports that up to 60,000 Louisiana residents enrolled in traditional (ie, non-expansion) Medicaid might end up being kicked off the program starting in July:
Louisiana officials will have to notify around 60,000 people who are elderly or disabled in early May that they are slated to lose their Medicaid benefits in July as a result of the Legislature's stalemate over the state budget and taxes.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has proposed eliminating some Medicaid programs that provide long-term care in order to cope with a $994 million budget deficit. The governor said he doesn't want to put forward such cuts, but he doesn't have much of a choice given the state's financial restrictions starting July 1, when the new budget year begins.
The Louisiana Department of Health is legally obligated to warn people about what might cuts be coming in July two months ahead of time, even if the programs are ultimately spared.
...Legislators will try to avoid Medicaid cuts by shifting around state money or approving new taxes, but those solutions won't be in place until mid-May at the earliest. They failed to raise taxes or other revenue in a special session that ended last week, and they haven't proposed alternatives cuts to the ones that governor has put on the table.
Another pot of money that could be used to avoid the cuts - a $302 million increase in state income tax revenue -- won't be verified until mid-May, after notices about eliminating Medicaid services will have already gone out.
Those who will receive the warnings include 46,000 Medicaid recipients who qualify for long-term care in a nursing home or at their personal residence, but also have some personal income in spite of their disability -- between $750 and $2,250 per month. In addition, about 14,000 people who get personal care assistance at home -- such as with bathing and eating -- are also likely to be notified.
...House Republican leaders have said they intend to avoid making Medicaid cuts like the ones the governor has proposed, but they have not said where they might find the money.
The response from ACA haters to this is predictable: "You're kicking old/sick people off of Medicaid in order to pay for able-bodied adults to be on it!" This is utter nonsense. The budgets for traditional Medicaid and ACA expansion have nothing to do with each other as a budgetary matter--you might as well say "You're kicking old/sick people off Medicaid in order to pay for (road construction/school lunches/the state police department/etc). The correct response is to find a way to properly fund all of the worthy programs, not to rob Peter to pay Paul. Of course that might require (gasp!) raising taxes on some folks. Seeing how Louisiana ranks 29th out of 50 in their overall tax burden, that should be able to be dealt with.