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It’s Official. Feds Deny Medicaid Waiver

by Christine Stuart | Mar 4, 2013 12:25pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care, State Capitol

It’s official. The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services denied a state waiver that would have allowed them to kick more than 13,000 low-income individuals off Medicaid.

The denial, which came Friday, says the the waiver did not serve the purposes of the Medicaid Act because it would “eliminate coverage for as many as 13,381 very low-income individuals for an approximate one year period, which is not consistent with the general statutory objective to extend coverage to low-income populations.”

The Malloy administration proposed the waiver last summer because it was concerned about skyrocketing enrollment and, more specifically, about the number of college-age children in the program. Currently, those who qualify for the program have incomes at 55 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to about $6,440 a year.

Back in July when the legislature was debating whether to move forward with the waiver, the Department of Social Services reported that there were 20,354 enrollees under the age of 26 in the Low-Income Adult program. The waiver sought to apply a $10,000 asset test to those individuals applying for the program. The new asset test would apply to the families of these children, ages 19 to 26, and it would have kicked many of them off the program.

Health care advocates applauded the decision by the federal agency Friday, but they worry even more about Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s current proposal to kick 40,000 low-income parents off the HUSKY program.

In his budget, Malloy proposed asking parents between 133 percent to 185 percent of the federal poverty level with children on the HUSKY plan to purchase their health insurance through the exchange starting in January 2014. His administration argues parents will receive federal subsidies if they purchase their insurance that way, but even Malloy’s budget director admitted that premium costs and benefits of plans on the exchange won’t be known until later this summer.

What’s even more troubling for advocates is that the more recent proposal doesn’t need federal approval.

Jane McNichol, executive director of the Legal Assistance Resource Center, told the legislature’s Human Services Committee last week that the language in the governor’s proposal doesn’t require the administration to ask the legislature to make changes to the program. She suggested the legislature seek some sort of oversight over future changes to the program.

Sheldon Toubman, a lawyer with New Haven Legal Assistance, said there will be collateral damage if the administration marches forward with its plan to kick 40,000 parents off the program.

“Some eligible kids will go uninsured as a result of their parents being kicked off of Medicaid,” Toubman said.

Sharon Langer of Connecticut Voices for Children testified last week  that national data shows that when the whole family is covered, they’re more like to get the care they need.

“Insured children with uninsured parents are nearly 2.5 times more likely to experience an insurance coverage gap than insured children with insured parents,” Langer said in her written testimony. “Insured children with uninsured parents are at greater risk of having unmet health care needs and having never received at least one preventive counseling service.”

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(6) Comments

posted by: justsayin | March 4, 2013  3:54pm

Transparent, no gimick budgeting at its finest. Is there no one that Malloy and his folks wont throw to curb to “supposedly” save a buck?

posted by: lkulmann | March 5, 2013  11:27am

No! You can NOT balance the budget on the backs of the low income families. I thought we were clear on that. The problem is that the rich need to pay their FAIR share in taxes. Then we can balance the budget on the backs of the rich for once….

posted by: christopherschaefer | March 5, 2013  1:01pm

When you voted for Democrats you voted for this: The NON-PARTISAN Congressional Budget Office on Obamacare: “the March 2012 estimate indicates that…Fewer people are now expected to obtain health insurance coverage from their employer or in insurance exchanges; more are now expected to obtain coverage from Medicaid.” Thus jobs that could be full time will remain part time or be reduced to part time so employers won’t have to provide insurance. Result: more people shifted over to Medicaid clinics—the socialized medicine of the future. Very few specialists take Medicaid because Medicaid pays so poorly. And the main way in which ObamaCare is being funded is by reducing payments to healthcare providers even more. Thus, in general, it’s only at government subsidized clinics and academic medical centers where Medicaid patients get care. That’s what ‘Health Care Reform’ REALLY means.

posted by: ASTANVET | March 5, 2013  1:29pm

lkulmann - I just love that “fair share” line… can’t get enough of it.  I pay a boat load of money in taxes… almost 50% of my income goes to one tax or another… what exactly is my “fair share”?  If you are talking about equality and fairness to participate in society, then I hope you are talking about a flat tax… but i suspect that wouldn’t be “fair” in your eyes.  There appear to be those who fund social programs and those who consume them… what is fair about that?  I’ll never see my social security, and I’ll never use medicare - where did my money go?  To someone else!  It is straight bull that you want to “balance’ the budget on the backs of the rich…who the heck do you think has funded the budget so far??  Maybe they could stop spending a bit… just a bit…

posted by: lkulmann | March 5, 2013  2:28pm

@christopher…Medicaid is a STATE MANAGED healthcare program. Medicare is a FEDERALLY MANAGED healthcare program. Doctors take Medicare no problem. Doctors do not take Medicaid. This begs the question “WHY” Why do they do that…hmmm? Christopher I will tell you why. When The CT DSS gets federal dollars for the “State” run programs, the cashier at the Medicaid/State line says “one dollar for the doc and two dollars for me, one dollar for the doc and two dollars for me…”
The cashier at the Federal/Obama line says one dollar for the doc and one dollar for me, one dollar for the do and one dollar for me…”
Healthcare Reform really means cutting out the the middlemen who are lining their pockets aka transparency. The State can’t even MANAGE D Snap competently let alone billions of dollars of healthcare money, hence the nickname ‘Corrupticut’
See Chris?

posted by: lkulmann | March 6, 2013  9:35am

@astanvet…I know EXACTLY how you feel but your anger is misdirected. You have to know how the Public Assistance System works before you comment on it. I’m living in the bowels of the CT State Assistance program. There is no money here I can assure you. Just to give you an example… I have a disabled 18yr old son. We get food stamps totaling $92.00/month. I get $354.00/month as a caregiver stipend. I went to my MD yearly check up and my MD was reimbursed $32.00 by State Medicaid. If your looking for the money and where do my tax dollars go, its not here. They are throwing us a bone every month. The real money is getting siphoned off at the top of the feeding chain. In any event, the real issue is WHY doesn’t the State get people off State Assistance? Welfare is not supposed to be a career. Bottom line is the State makes federal and tax $$$ keeping people ON State…Understand the system AND you are not the ‘rich’ I’m refering too unless you are a multi millionaire/billionaire. The CEO of Yale New Haven Hospital is making $2 million a year ... healthcare money…Thats what I’m talking about.