Kaiser Health News and USA Today collaborated on a story about thirteen states moving to cut Medicaid by reducing benefits, paying health providers less or tightening eligibility, even as the federal government prepares to expand the insurance program for the poor to as many as 17 million more people. These cuts threaten to limit access to care for many of its 60 million recipients.
Most of the cuts went into effect this month, according to a 50-state survey by Kaiser Health News for USA Today. Among them:
–Illinois cut enrollees to four prescriptions a month; imposed a copay for prescriptions for non-pregnant adults; raised eligibility to eliminate more than 25,000 adults and eliminated non-emergency dental care for adults.
–Alabama cut pay for doctors and dentists 10 percent and eliminated coverage for eyeglasses.
–Florida cut funding to hospitals that treat Medicaid patients by 5.6 percent – following a 12.5 percent cut a year ago. The state is also seeking permission to limit non-pregnant adults to two primary care visits a month unless they are pregnant, and to cap emergency room coverage at six visits a year.
–California added a $15 fee for those who go to the emergency room for routine care and cut reimbursements to private hospitals by $150 million.
–Wisconsin added or increased monthly premiums for most non-pregnant adults with incomes above $14,856 for an individual.
South Dakota, Maryland, Colorado, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Hawaii and Maine also are making reductions to their programs. Connecticut is weighing cuts likely to go into effect this fall.