NCART brochure criticizes Missouri Medicaid cuts

Sunday, July 17, 2005

DES MOINES, Iowa -- NCART passed out brochures at last weekend's National Governors' Association meeting here that criticized Missouri's chief executive with the pronouncement: "When Missouri's Budget Needed To Be Cut, Governor Matt Blunt Did It The Wrong Way!"

The state's recent $231 million Medicaid cut, which eliminated 90,000 people from the program, hit DME hard. For instance, Missouri Medicaid will purchase a power wheelchair for a patient, but not the battery needed to run it. The state will purchase respiratory medications, but not the nebulizers to dispense them.

"These cuts are inhumane and senseless," said Sharon Hildebrandt, executive director of NCART. "Gov. Blunt is seeking to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, our children and the elderly. We want other governors around the nation to know that there will be a political price to pay if they follow the same shameful path as Missouri. We can not allow states to take away healthcare and medical equipment from the people who need the most help."

With states increasingly facing budget concerns, Hildebrandt said, a clear message has to be sent that Medicaid is not the place for governors to turn for a "quick fix" to their budget problems.

"We call on the NGA to make clear that it is irresponsible public policy to do what Missouri has done," she said. "What Missouri policy makers do not realize is that these cuts will actually increase expenditures. When a patient has no access to wheelchair seating items that prevent decubitus ulcers (pressure sores), these patients will end up in costly institutions."