Richmond County Daily Journal
The U.S. Senate may take up Medicaid funding to the states Tuesday afternoon.
The leaders of North Carolina state government have been calling for the appropriation of Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentages (FMAP) funding, predicting more cuts to the state’s health and human services department will happen without it.
N.C. Sen. Bill Purcell, who co-chair of the Health and Human Services Senate Committee, said without this money, the state will come up $550 million short in the second half of this fiscal year, and $1 billion in 2011-12.
“I sure hope they’ll approve something, because if they don’t we’re in big trouble next year,” Purcell said Monday. “We have a contingency plan, which would involve a lot of cuts. We’ve already cut $371 million from Health and Human Services this year, and the state appropriations for the department are now at $3.9 billion when they were $4.9 billion in 2008. So, we’ve cut about a billion dollars from it, which is about 20 percent, which is hard to do without affecting services to the poor folks of North Carolina.”
Since the state has taken over Medicaid costs from the counties, the federal government has paid 75 percent of the state’s costs for the program to provide medical care for the poor. More than 60 percent have already been approved, but the other portion hasn’t yet come.
North Carolina Justice Center spokesperson Jeff Shaw said the state’s contingency plan in case the funding isn’t approved involves a 1 percent cut across the board in state government “which would be pretty devastating, because we’re already cutting muscle - we’ve gotten past the fat and the sinew.”Also included in the bill the Senate will consider is an extension to unemployment insurance benefits, which have amounted to about $2.2 billion in the state from the onset of the recession until April, according to Shaw.
For more details, read the Tuesday print edition of the Daily Journal.