On Friday, the Health and Family Services Cabinet Cabinet issued public notice for Medicaid rate reductions to take effect April 1 if no budget agreement is reached.
The cabinet will significantly reduce payment to hospitals, nursing facilities, home health agencies, community-based services, pharmacies, comprehensive care centers, primary care centers, local health departments and other providers of Medicaid services in the commonwealth. The rate reductions are approximately 35 percent.
Gov. Beshear has called a special session beginning Monday to address the Medicaid budget hole. He says he can’t reduce a single dollar — not $1 — of spending anyplace in the state budget except for his promises for cuts in Medicaid.
Kentucky employees provided Beshear many ideas for reducing spending that he apparently can’t see:
– Eliminate potential duplication at the Education Cabinet’s Office of Training & Employment (OET) and the Economic Development Cabinet’s Bluegrass State Skills Corp. (BSSC) and its Workforce Training department.
– Quit sending teachers and administrators to conferences when they are nearing retirement or can’t apply conference materials when returning to work.
– Don’t mandate purchases off bid lists when local options are quicker and less expensive.
– Shift money currently spent on educational grants, special programs and “experts” from Frankfort, to where it matters most — classrooms.
– Answer: “What happened to all the lottery money that was supposed to be spent on education?”
– Address wasted energy in school facilities.
– Cut back on administrative staff all over.
Maybe it’s time to remind the governor about his commitment to do an efficiency study that would save the state $160 million to $180 million per year. Maybe it’s time to ask him to provide an accounting of savings realized from taking action on the thousands of suggestions received from state employees to save money.
Maybe Beshear should bring to the table Monday details about how he is going to save all those dollars in future Medicaid payments as a result of his requests for information from Medicaid providers.
Not $1! Not $1. But he can decree a 35 percent cut to entities that have to make a profit to survive — a 35 percent, cold-turkey cut on Kentucky businesses. It must be nice to decree it and not get one challenge from the “yes” crowd.
Of course, it’s much easier to point the finger and force pain on others than make tough internal decisions cutting unnecessary spending that could avoid it all.
It’s time for some adult leadership on state spending in all areas.