The Maine Health Care Association has hired the Center for Long-Term Care Reform to figure out how much money the Maine Medicaid program could save if the state made nursing home benefits eligibility rules as strict as federal law seems to permit.
Maine is a state with a governor, Paul LePage, who hates the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Maine is suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the right to cut Medicaid spending by $20 million, by removing 33,000 of what it says are the least needy enrollees from the program, according to the LTC reform center.
HHS says a PPACA “maintenance of effort” provision lets it take existing Medicaid funding away from a state that fails to keep Medicaid program eligibility levels at least as generous as they were back in March 2010, when PPACA was signed into law.
Maine is arguing that the same Supreme Court decision that stopped HHS from taking existing Medicaid funding away from states that fail to meet new PPACA goals should also keep HHS from taking funding away from states that fail to meet the PPACA “maintenance of effort” requirements.
The LTC reform center is supposed to help the Maine Health Care Association, a long-term care (LTC) provider group, figure out how much Maine would save if, in effect, it made nursing benefit eligibility rules as tight as they could have been under the laws that are in place in February 2010, before PPACA took effect.
The LTC reform center gives home equity as an example of what it thinks is wrong with Maine Medicaid nursing home benefits eligibility rules.
Medicaid is supposed to be a program for poor people.
Today, Maine lets a Medicaid nursing home benefit user keep $786,000 in home equity, according to the LTC reform center. The state wants to cut that to $525,000, the federal minimum, the LTC reform center says.
“There are many other examples of measures Maine could take that would target scarce Medicaid resources to people most in need while at the same time demonstrating the importance for others, who have the time and financial wherewithal to plan for LTC, to do so,” the center says.
What rational, independent person can really object to that idea?