Across the country, states are cutting back on Medicaid spending, leaving many Americans with nowhere to go to get proper medical care.
In Washington state, these cuts have been deep, with the Medicaid program as of January no longer “paying for a half-dozen categories of care, ranging from adult hearing aids and eyeglasses to non-emergency dental care for most adults and Medicare Part D drug co-pays for the disabled and the elderly.” The state more recently cut $676 million from health funding for low-income people, and new premiums costs were added to Medicaid recipients whose children are undocumented.
Late last week, the Washington state Supreme Court reversed some of these Medicaid cuts, ruling that they were unfairly made. The court found that the state Department of Social and Health Services “made broad assumptions based on children’s age and living conditions instead of examining the need in each individual case.” The ruling will restore care to as many as 3,000 children who are served by the state’s children’s health care program. The court also affirmed a lower court decision that reversed cuts to 1,000 seniors receiving in-home care. Local news station KING 5 covered the court decision and interviewed one family who was depending on the care provided by Medicaid. Watch it:
The court’s decision is particularly relevant right now because the Obama administration is currently engaged in arguing before the Supreme Court that Medicaid “recipients and health care providers cannot sue state officials to challenge cuts in Medicaid payments, even if such cuts compromise access to health care for poor people.” Health care advocates in states from North Carolina and Arizona are also filing lawsuits to try to reverse cuts to Medicaid.