Missouri slashes Medicaid

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed a bill in April that will eliminate DME for thousands of people.
The new law, which takes effect Aug. 28, calls for about 100,000 people to lose Medicaid coverage, which currently covers about one million people. Blind people, pregnant women and children are exempt from the cuts.
The law also repeals mandatory adult coverage for prosthetics, wheelchairs, rehabilitation services and hospice care. Dental and optical care, podiatry and hearing aides benefit also were cut. These changes are expected to affect about 350,000 people.Debate in the state's legislature, however, could spare DME providers some of the most detrimental changes. The House has already approved continuing funding for some services, including wheelchairs, oxygen and artificial limbs. The governor warned, however, that he would use a line-item veto to make sure the state's budget does not stray too far from the Medicaid cuts outlined in the signed bill.
The cuts and drop in enrollment could hurt many DME providers in the state. When the cuts were first proposed, a Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Services spokesperson estimated that providers could face a 10% to 25% loss in revenue a result of the changes.