Here’s the first thing you see on David Williams’ campaign site:
I’m still not sure what the “True Leadership” of Williams is, but Kentucky is 8 days away from a Medicaid apocalypse. And it’s been two days since the State House passed their compromise bill to avoid it by a bipartisan 94-4 vote. In a special session costing us $68,000 a day that was only called because Williams sprung his unpopular bill (all 41 House Republicans panned it) days before the end of the session.
And what has been the Senate President’s reaction since the House passed this bipartisan compromise?
And what will happen if the Senate doesn’t agree to the Medicaid compromise by next Friday?
The mother of an 18-year-old who is mentally retarded, autistic and bipolar, Baylon relies on Medicaid for her son’s health care, which includes extensive therapy from a behavioral specialist. Her health care provider recently contacted her to explain that if the Medicaid budget is not fixed by April 1, she will be in jeopardy of losing her son Simon’s coverage.
“This will desperately affect me,” Baylon says. “When change happens in our lives, his life, there are a lot of things that come from it: He becomes more aggressive, his behavior changes, he breaks things. These children, their whole lives are based on routine. Once you put a ringer in that, it means it will affect many people — the children, the families, the caregivers, the schools — it goes on and on.
“(The therapist) has been working with my son for eight years, and we’ve made tremendous progress with her. We could not live without her, honestly.”
Rosemary Smith, who owns eight pharmacies in Central and Eastern Kentucky and a medical equipment company, said her employees and her clients are worried and scared.
“Our employees are frightened,” Smith said. “Our customers are frightened that they may not be able to get their prescriptions filled. They have asked us, ‘What am I going to do?’”
The 35 percent reduction would mean that pharmacies will lose money if they fill most Medicaid prescriptions, pharmacists have said. Previous testimony has shown that on some medications, a pharmacist would lose $64 if they filled the prescription for a Medicaid patient.
“We’re panicked,” Smith said. “We just can’t fill those prescriptions. And our Medicaid clients are our most vulnerable population.”
“Such a drastic reduction would be devastating to providers, as the current Medicaid payments don’t cover the costs incurred by most providers in serving Medicaid beneficiaries,” said the letter, signed by Donald H. Robinson, chairman of the board, and Stephen Williams, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare.
Norton — which includes five hospitals — receives nearly $200 million a year from Medicaid. A 30 percent cut would equate “to nearly $60 million and would be disastrous, inevitably resulting in reduction or elimination of important medical services to the already medically fragile, reductions in workforce and other actions which would negatively effect our community and Commonwealth,” the letter said.
Mike Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, said internal calculations suggest the state’s hospitals would lose $125 million. How that would affect individual hospitals depends on how many Medicaid patients each hospital serves. Those with a higher Medicaid population, such as Norton, would have a much more difficult time managing the loss in cash, Rust said.
I know that the Mitch McConnell School of Obstruction is really good at winning elections, but considering that the health and well being of 800,000 Kentuckians are very much at jeopardy, don’t you think it would be a good idea to maybe do the right thing this time?