* Bruce Rauner and US Sen. Mark Kirk were interviewed yesterday on Rick Pearson’s increasingly important WGN radio talk show. One topic was Medicaid…
Rauner suggested the federal government wouldn’t pay for the bulk of the Medicaid expansion “for many more years.”
“When the federal government steps back to its traditional role of a being a 50-50 (payment) partner with states, Illinois will be facing a massive budget problem, a massive hole,” Rauner said.
That “when” should’ve been “if.” The feds currently pick up the entire cost, but the match isn’t ever scheduled to revert to a 50-50 split…
Under the health-care law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Then the federal match is pared back to 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019 and then 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. It would stay at the 90 percent level unless the lawmakers change or repeal the legislation.
So it would take congressional action and a presidential signature to slash those reimbursement rates by that much.
* Sen. Kirk…
“The basic political trick of Obamacare is to claim that Medicaid is a health insurance and we all know many, I would say most, doctors don’t take Medicaid,” Kirk said at a news conference in Greektown.
“The question is, is their family actually going to be covered? And the answer is no — that when you show up and find out the doctor says, ‘No I don’t take Medicaid because the…payments are too slow and the state of Illinois is too incompetent to run this,” Kirk said.
“Payments are too slow” probably should be “too low.” I asked the comptroller’s office for the current Medicaid payment cycle…
We have $635 million in Medicaid bills at the Comptroller’s Office, dating back to Jan. 21, 2014.
That does not include what is still at DHFS, which we estimate to be an additional $800 million (the agency should be able to give insight on how far back those go).
The governor’s office says all bills are submitted for payment within 30 days.
So, the bill backlog isn’t nearly as bad as it once was.
Also, Illinois has one of the least costly cost-per-patient ratios for all of Medicaid. Why? Our provider reimbursements are very low. So low, that docs are reluctant to participate.
* Back to Rauner…
But when asked if the state should roll back the expanded eligibility rules, Rauner said more investigation of fraud needs to be conducted and that the state should move Medicaid further into a managed care system.
Translation: I’m trying to run as a neo-liberal. Quit asking questions like that, Rick.