Many states continue to devise proposals to lower Medicaid expenditures with a potential of curtailing eligibility for many applicants and recipients. In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer has proposed an enrollment freeze which would cut about $500 million from the state’s Medicaid program in fiscal 2012; but it is estimated that 100,000 people would lose coverage if enrollment is capped. Her plan also caps enrollment for parents earning above 75 percent of the federal poverty level, effective October 1, which affects about 60,000 parents and would save an estimated $17 million the first year. DHHS Secretary Sebelius has said the governor “can eliminate coverage for these groups without losing federal matching funds because it goes beyond Medicaid requirements”.
In Texas, the House tentatively approved a bill on June 10 that would require state Health and Human Services chief Ton Suehs to seek a waiver from DHHS that would let state officials take care of more than 4 million people on Medicaid and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program by, in some cases, having them buy private insurance. Others would use vouchers for long-term care services and manage their own health savings accounts.
Media report that on June 30 New Jersey plans to submit a Medicaid waiver to DHHS which would drop the income cap for new adult enrollees to about 25 percent of the poverty level “in a move that would deny services to an estimated 23,000 people”. In response to pointed questions from state legislators as to projected savings, officials from the state Department of Human Services estimated that the eligibility cuts would save $17 million to $32 million. Officials are also quoted about counting on $200 million in increased federal funding. It is also reported that Governor Chris Christie is proposing a $540 million reduction.