Hundreds of people packed an auditorium in Helena Thursday to protest planned cuts to Medicaid.
"This 3.47 percent cut is devastating," says William Buck, who owns Shepherd's Way assisted living facility in Lewistown.
The 3.47 percent cut he's talking about is the amount the state health department says it has to cut payments to all healthcare providers who take Medicaid patients. This after state lawmakers reduced the health department's budget earlier this year, followed by a revenue shortfall that will trigger further budget cuts starting next month.
"It's devastating because we are not going to be able to afford to take any more Medicaid residents in" says Buck.
Many who testified said that cutting pay for assisted living and home health agencies will result in more people going to emergency rooms and hospitals, which will wipe out any Medicaid savings. The Gallatin and Lewis and Clark County Sheriffs offices testified that cuts to Medicaid mental health providers will result in more people going to jail instead of getting care.
An interim legislative committee is objecting to the cuts, which could delay their implementation. The health department is taking comments on the proposed cuts until August fourth.
Public comment is being taken by either mail, email, or fax.
For more information visit http://dphhs.mt.gov/AdministrativeRules
Or contact Kenneth Mordan, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; telephone (406) 444-4094; fax (406) 444-9744; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org