State's Medicaid Reductions Getting Focus Of Lawmakers

North Carolina's Medicaid program is struggling to reach $356 million in cuts required by the state budget written by the Republican-led General Assembly.

Officials in Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue's administration were expected Thursday to tell the Legislature's chief government oversight committee why the program faces a nearly $140 million cash shortfall this year.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says in a presentation posted on the committee's web page that regulatory approval delays, slow enrollment for managed care and outstanding federal government repayments are contributing to the shortfall.

GOP lawmakers have said state regulators should press the Obama administration to approve more quickly state changes to the Medicaid plan to accelerate savings.

Perdue vetoed the budget that contained the Medicaid cuts. The Legislature overrode the veto.

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States say they need the help largely because the federal stimulus, which provided states billions of dollars, ended this summer.

North Carolina has ended vision care for adults on Medicaid, according to Kaiser Health News.

Hawaii plans to cut medicaid hospital stays to 10 days a year beginning in april, and arizona will limit stays to 25 days a year starting at the end of this month.

Advocates for hospital executives say the move will restrict access to health care and increase insurance costs for privately insured patients.

The national association of state budget officers estimates state medicaid spending will rise 19 percent for fiscal year 2012 which begin July 1st.

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