As you may know, far more Rhode Islanders signed up for Medicaid than expected recently. And the state is on the hook for millions more dollars than anticipated to care for them. The federal government is picking up the tab for now for people who became newly eligible for the program under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which Rhode Island opted to accept (unlike some other states). That allowed childless adults, men and women, earning less than a certain amount a year, to get health insurance, some perhaps for the first time.
Providence Ward 14 City Councilor David Salvatore, chairman of the council's Ways and Means Committee, joins Political Roundtable to discuss the emergence of Providence's finances as a campaign issue; the impact of a "People's Pledge" in the Democratic primary; the soaring cost of growing state Medicaid enrollment; and the possible effect of eliminating the master lever.
I'm combing through a Rhode Island Senate Fiscal Office summary of Governor Lincoln Chafee's FY 2015 budget proposal - a handy document that summarizes the item in question and analyzes its potential impacts. In health care, there's lots to digest.
But here are a few items that have caught my eye so far. And keep in mind, these are all still up for debate.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee has proposed $43 million in cuts to the state's Medicaid program. That's the program that provides health insurance for the poor and disabled. And it's recently been expanded under Obamacare.
And while Chafee's budget wouldn't cut services for Medicaid recipients, it would have an impact on how much health care providers are paid to care for Medicaid patients. To learn more, Rhode Island Public Radio's health care reporter Kristin Gourlay sat down with Virginia Burke, head of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, whose members are mainly nursing homes.
About 4500 parents who used to have health insurance through RIte Care, the state’s Medicaid program, will have to reapply for insurance if they want to remain covered after the end of the month. The biggest concern is that the poorest Rhode Islanders may not be able to afford it.
Under new, tighter eligibility rules, thousands of parents of children with RIte Care health insurance are slated to lose their coverage at the end of this month. But they’re getting an extra month to pick a new plan.
Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, said several hundred small businesses have started applications for health plans through the site. And there’s more new data about who is enrolling in plans on the exchange.
Rhode Islanders who are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid - the so-called "dual eligibles" - take note: you're being enrolled in a new health plan designed to coordinate your primary care and long term care needs a bit better. It's called the Integrated Care Initiative, it could affect nearly 28,000 Rhode Islanders, and it's not without controversy.