Time’s running for the state to figure out how to cover a 25-million-dollar hole in its Medicaid budget. When the economy started to falter, the number of people enrolling in the state’s healthcare system soared, and 25-thousand more than expected are now asking for public assistance. If help doesn’t come in the federal economic-stimulus plan, the state will have to cut benefits or cut off some recipients.State human services commissioner Jessie Rasmussen says it’s not an easy choice to make. The state already cut payments to healthcare providers by three-percent in July, and she says more cuts would hurt access to care. Rasmussen says some doctors will simply quit treating Medicaid patients if the pay for that service is cut more. Rasmussen says the state could simply cut off people with unmanageable medical bills who still make too much to qualify for help.If they’re cut off, where will they go, and will the state wind up simply paying through some other program. Rasmussen explains some will end up in nursing homes, which cost more, or will turn to counties for aid which will still cost taxpayers. Unless more money turns up, the decision will have to be made this week.
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