Greenstein: Medicaid cuts expected to come down Friday
Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein says he expects to announce by Friday how he'll divvy up $859 million in cuts across Louisiana's Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. "To us, the clock is ticking. We have 355 days left in this fiscal year. The quicker we move to implementation, the greater the number of days we have to spread the cuts across the year," Greenstein says. The state's move is tied to a congressional reduction in Louisiana's federal Medicaid financing rate. Greenstein didn't offer details about what will be slashed, saying he's seeking efficiencies in the department and Medicaid program to try to lessen the impact on services and providers. But hospitals, doctors and other health providers say, while they haven't gotten any hints from the health department, they are bracing for deep cuts that shrink the money they receive for taking care of Medicaid patients and the uninsured, cuts they say could decimate services. "You don't pull $860 million out of a program like this without it being very painful. It's just not going to be good. It just can't be," says John Matessino, president of the Louisiana Hospital Association. The cuts represent an 11% reduction to Louisiana's $7.7 billion Medicaid budget, planned for the budget year that began July 1.
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