Medicaid cuts take effect Sunday

Saturday, July 31, 2010 - 4:43pm

Louisiana's Medicaid program will take a big hit this weekend, as millions of dollars are cut from the budget. Now, the people who rely on Medicaid wonder what will happen to their care.

Tammi Messenger has Aicardi Syndrome. It's a rare disorder that causes brain damage. Her parents rely on the Medicaid program to help give Tammi the full-time care she needs.

"She's 33. She was supposed to live five years," says Terry Messenger, Tammi's father. "I really do believe that she's lived because of the care we've given her and the love from her caretakers."

Sunday, the Medicaid rates paid to many private health providers will plummet. That drop will $168 million from the program. Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor, elderly, and disabled, has taken a nearly $280 million dollar hit.

This is the final piece of balancing this years $6.5 billion Medicaid budget. Health providers say the cuts will shrink patients' access to care by chasing some providers away from treating Medicaid patients.

Larger private hospitals are taking the biggest hit. They'll be paid nearly 5 percent less for each Medicaid patient they see.

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