More fun at the General Assembly this morning for the staff presentation on Medicaid for new (and old) legislators. After 10 years of seeing these things they’ve become depressingly predictable – and overwhelming tilted against the program. Everyone complains about the high cost of Medicaid (without saying which elderly, disabled, kids, or moms they would cut off to save money). Of course, there’s one more problem with this cost argument that wasn’t mentioned in the blatantly biased hearing – NC Medicaid actually came in $350 million under budget last year thanks to serious cost-cutting measures on the part of top administrators Dr. Allen Dobson and Mark Benton – and they did this without denying needed healthcare. Another one of those pesky facts that apparently didn’t filter down to the General Assembly staff giving the presentation.
One other outrageous misrepresentation by staff giving the presentation concerned residency requirements for Medicaid. Always a favorite attack point by those who want to curtail the program, the idea is that people are hobbling with their walkers from all over the country to get NC Medicaid. In response to a question from a legislator, the staff member asserted that all an out-of-state person had to do to get Medicaid was check into a NC hotel room and then tell the local Department of Social Services office that they intended to remain in North Carolina. Whoops! That might make a good sound bite for the anti-government crowd but it’s just wrong. A couple years ago the law was tightened up and there are serious documentation and affidavit requirements to really prove you are a resident of NC.
Looks like folks might want to get their facts straight before they give presentations to legislators who are going to be making decisions about this critically important program for our kids and elders.
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