Wall Street Journal Examines Proposals To Reduce Medicaid Coverage for Optional Beneficiaries
The Wall Street Journal today looks at state proposals to cut Medicaid's optional beneficiaries -- those who meet state eligibility requirements but do not qualify for the program under federal regulations -- to balance their budgets. During the past two years, "at least a dozen" states have passed legislation or received federal permission to drop hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries, the Journal reports. For example, Tennessee eliminated 200,000 beneficiaries, Michigan cut 38,000 beneficiaries, Colorado lawmakers voted to cut 3,500 documented immigrants and Massachusetts eliminated coverage for 36,000 childless adults. Other states in the process of cutting optional Medicaid beneficiaries include California, Missouri and Texas. Some of the cuts have been legally or politically challenged. More cuts are anticipated; during the next year, about one million optional beneficiaries will lose Medicaid coverage if all the proposed cuts are approved, according to a March study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. State officials say the cuts must be made to the $260 billion program to maintain Medicaid benefits for the 30 million beneficiaries who qualify for Medicaid under federal law, according to the Journal (Lueck, Wall Street Journal, 6/26). NPR's "Morning Edition" today reports on the $20 billion in additional federal aid to states through the recently enacted tax cut legislation. A portion of the funds is earmarked for states' Medicaid programs. The segment focuses on Missouri, where Medicaid consumes almost one-sixth of the state's budget, according to NPR (Allen, "Morning Edition," NPR, 6/26). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.