I really don’t understand why more people aren’t raising a stink about this. In case you didn’t know, Medicaid is the insurer of last resort for the elderly. That means if your elderly parent has tapped out all their savings and needs to go into a nursing home, Medicaid is what pays for that. Think that has some implications for most people? Why are they all so quiet?
Some cash-strapped states have seized on a section of the Supreme Court’s health-law decision to pare their existing Medicaid programs, saying the ruling lifts the March 2010 law’s ban on such cuts.
The court, which upheld most of the law, struck down penalties for states choosing not to expand Medicaid. A few states are also trying to go farther, arguing that the ruling justifies cuts to their existing programs.
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 28, lawyers in the Maine attorney general’s office began preparing a legal argument to allow health officials to strike more than 20,000 Medicaid recipients from the state’s rolls—including 19- and 20-year-olds—beginning in October to save $10 million by next July.
“We think we’re on solid legal ground,” Attorney General William Schneider said in an interview. “We’re going to reduce eligibility back to the base levels in a couple of areas,” he said. Maine, like some other states eyeing cuts, earlier expanded its Medicaid program beyond national requirements.
Other states, including Wisconsin and Alabama, are expected to follow Maine’s lead, though there is disagreement over whether the high court gave the states such leeway. That could lead to battles between states and the federal government that could drag the health law back to the courts. New Jersey and Indiana also said they were evaluating the decision and did not rule out challenging the requirements.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services is still examining the court’s ruling and its implications for eligibility rules, an official said.