In a grim budget year, Medicaid received some good news. Governor Gregoire announced she was restoring six of the most painful proposed budget cuts in the Medicaid program, and she made it clear she is asking the Legislature to restore three more in July 2011.
The six restored budget cuts are:
- Adult (age 21 and older) pharmacy benefits will not be suspended on March 1, 2011.
- The Take Charge family planning program will not end on March 1, 2011.
- Adult physical, occupational and speech therapies will not end on Jan 1, 2011.
- The adult hospice benefit will not end on Jan 1, 2011.
- The State Alien Medical (AM) program will not end on January 1, 2011.
- The First Steps/Maternity Support Services program will not end on March 1, but the program will be retooled to match a 50 percent cut in funding.
In addition, Governor Gregoire made it clear she is recommending that the Legislature restore the Adult Hearing and Adult Vision benefits in July, when the new biennium begins. She also asked legislators to restore the Adult Dental benefit in July for aged, blind and disabled populations and pregnant women.
Medical assistance programs that still will be cut include:
- The Children’s Health Program with an enrollment of 27,000 children will end on March 1, 2011.
- Adult Dental will end on Jan 1, 2011, for most adult clients. The exception will be clients with developmental disabilities.
- Many foot care (podiatry) services will end on Jan 1, 2011. Foot care that will continue will be treatments necessary for acute conditions.
- Medicaid’s participation in school-based medical services (primarily physical, occupational and speech therapy) will end on Jan 1, 2011. Those services are expected to continue but be funded by school districts.
- Adult vision will no longer provide eyeglass frames, lenses and contacts after Jan 1, 2011.
- Adult hearing will no longer provide hearing aids, other equipment or repairs after Jan 1, 2011.
- The Interpreter Services program is scheduled to end on March 1.
- The medical coverage and cash grants for clients of the Disability Lifeline program formerly known as the General Assistance-Unemployable and ADATSA are now scheduled to end on March 1.