Bringing the Economy Home

Plan To Reverse Key Medicaid Cuts Gets A Hearing

Idaho Legislature

Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls) chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee.

A ranking House Republican is sponsoring a bill to reverse key cuts in Medicaid services.  Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls) chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee.  That committee oversaw the state’s process of reining in Medicaid services as the state’s economy suffered the effects of the downturn.  Rep. McGeachin now says lawmakers made one cut based on an inaccurate understanding of how certain services were provided, and what they entailed.

“Our Medicaid program is quite intricate,” she said, “and it’s really impossible for us on the committee to understand all of those codes.”

McGeachin’s bill would allow adult Medicaid recipients to again receive skill development services related to both developmental disabilities and mental health problems, as long as those services are not duplicative.  That would reverse a cut that forced Medicaid recipients with dual diagnoses to choose which kind of skill development services to receive.

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“There are some people who have a mental illness and a developmental disability, and we really thought those people were receiving the same services twice,” McGeachin said.  “But that’s not what was really happening out there.”

StateImpact has documented the effect of this particular service cut in one young woman’s life.

McGeachin’s bill also seeks to restore preventative dental care for adults with disabilities who are eligible for an institutional level of care through Medicaid.  The House Health and Welfare Committee is scheduled to hear the proposal tomorrow.  The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee takes up the Medicaid budget this Friday.

Rep. McGeachin said she has been working closely with Medicaid service providers and fellow legislators to determine which cuts to attempt to reverse.  “We really focused on the most egregious changes that people felt were possibly creating a greater cost burden somewhere else,” she said.

Reversing the two cuts would cost about $8 million in total spending, about $2 million of which would come from the state, McGeachin says.


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