On the front page of the 25 April Decatur Daily was an article entitled ‘Providers: Medicaid could face more cuts’ (1). This is not really news to most of us, but the potential impact of this action is monstrous. I will have to mostly limit the scope of this paper to the impact of these cuts to the state’s mentally ill that receive Medicaid assistance.
In the article, it states that the House has appropriated ‘$400 million (M) to Medicaid in the 2013 budget, which is about $175 M less than the current year’ (1). Later, Senator Orr of Decatur states that ‘there is without question the need for more state dollars that what was appropriated in the House’ (1), and posits that the Senate appropriation will be between $500 M and $600 M.
In any case, that will still lead to cuts. One of the potential cost saving measures being considered is an ‘across the board pharmacy prescription limit of 1 brand name and 3 generic medications (a TOTAL of 4 medications) for each Medicaid participant. There (would be) no drug class exclusions and no special population exclusions. This would mean that the antipsychotic exclusion for individuals with serious mental illnesses would no longer be part of Medicaid reimbursement…(and that) many (consumers) will be forced to choose (for example) between filling prescriptions for their diabetes medications versus filling prescriptions for their antipsychotics’ (2). I cannot overstate how tragic it would be for this to happen, for those of us who struggle to maintain some stability to have it be endangered by a cut in funding.