Today is the due date for a plan to cut nearly $180 million dollars from Medicaid. Half of that is state funding, the other matching federal dollars. To close a burgeoning state budget gap, Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed cutting hospital and nursing home payments. Her “Reinvent Medicaid” task force delivers its recommendations today for finding the rest of the savings in the state’s health insurance program for the poor. Their proposals are aimed at reducing the cost of caring for some of the most complex patients.
Lawmakers have begun the process of estimating how much money the state can spend in 2016 (through the Revenue and Caseload Estimating Conference). They’ll hear a series of presentations over the next couple of weeks on projected revenues and spending so far this year. They use the information as they consider Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposed budget.
Rhode Island has long been engaged in a debate about government benefits for the poor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our state isn’t as generous as most other New England states on helping those with less.
House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston has heard the complaints for years from conservatives and some elements of the business community: That Rhode Island’s overly generous social welfare programs handcuff taxpayers and harm the state’s business climate.
The first public meeting about Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plans for Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, is scheduled for tonight in Woonsocket. Over the course of four such town hall meetings, organizers hope to gather ideas for saving the program millions of dollars as well as improving services.
The Economic Progress Institute’s Linda Katz is a member of Raimondo’s Medicaid working group.
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.