Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Obama budget recommendations make Medicaid expansion even MORE important this year

Today, President Obama released his proposed budget for FY2014. In it, he recommends pushing Medicaid DSH payment cuts into FY2015. As you are no doubt aware, the loss of DSH payments is an absolute doomsday scenario for Mississippi hospitals and the communities they support. Predictably, Gov. Phil Bryant jumped in front of a microphone this afternoon and said that Obama's proposal to push Medicaid DSH payment cuts into 2015 was reason to ignore the current debate over Medicaid expansion.

Predictably, Gov. Bryant doesn't know what in the hell he's talking about. To begin with, please tell me if you can tell the difference between the following choices:

Choice A - Medicaid DSH payments
Choice B - DSH payments

Any guesses? You got it: Medicaid DSH payments are different than "DSH payments." See, there are Medicare DSH payments as well, and those are NOT being delayed until 2014 if Obama gets his budget through Congress. (Which is something that, mind you, has never happened.)

Secondly, if Obama's budget were to get through Congress (stop snickering, House Republican Caucus), that would only mean more severe cuts to Medicaid DSH payments to Mississippi hospitals in October 2015 than are currently contemplated for October of this year.

Finally, there's no doubt that DSH payments are getting cut. That's coming regardless of what happens with this year's federal budget process. And there's also no doubt that Mississippi hospitals and communities cannot function unless Medicaid expansion is done before that happens. That's math even Gov. Bryant should be able to perform.

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