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The [b]Baldacci October Surprise[/b] predicted a number of days ago here on AMG.
Open your wallets, Maine! Strike that. Only the 50% of us that pay taxes.
A cram down. Apparently, the hospitals don't need all the money they originally billed the state.
This doesn't come as a surprise. The Governor can make decisions like the hospital reimbursements before the election because politically it benefits him, but he won't make a decision on an issue like Cabela's because it is difficult and may spark controversy. This guy is a politician (and a good one) but certainly not a strong and principled leader. His empty rhetoric sounds good on the trail but his actions have been a disaster.
Dirigo, $1 billion in increased spending, over $500 million structural gap and 20% of Mainers on Medicaid.
Maine people need to see through this political garbage and oust Baldacci.
Previously, this administration has said that we are caught up medicaid payments through to 2003. but this says the settlement goes back to the mid 90's.
someone isn't telling the truth.
Add this one to the long, long list of non-truth-telling.
The Medicaid disaster just keeps on - a bottomless muckhole. Let's not forget the Feds are demanding that all 2005 claims be run through the system again, and there may be significant money demanded from Maine if the results are not up to standard.
The Governor can promise all he wants, but the Legislature has to provide the money. If Baldacci is re-elected, the money won't be there and he will blame the Legislature. Probably Republicans in the Legislature.
Are the hospitals really so dumb that they will buy this political game?
My guess is....yes, the hospitals are that dumb. The Governor has perfected the art of spewing absolute bull@#$% from his mouth and having people take it hook, line and sinker!
How much of a haircut are the hospitals taking?
Hey, if the hospitals are numb enough to accept pennies on the dollar for services rendered, why should the GOP bitch? Saves tax dollars in the end.
It is the average Joe that has been priced out of the health insurance market who gets sick that will lose his house. Baldacci and the Democrats sure don't give a hoot about him, do they?
Baldacci's all for the bums, wagon riders and lazy types.
[quote="Bob Stone"]How much of a haircut are the hospitals taking?[/quote]
Alot - some are taking more of a hit than others.
This is basicly take something over nothing in the eyes of the hospitals. There are hospitals in Maine that are literally open week to week in being able to meet payroll. Your larger hospitals could ride this out and wait for full payment in time - the small rural places need the money now.
Keep in mind that these are for services ALREADY provided so the hospitals have already paid for the care and need a repayment from the State - which by the way only needs to pay $1 to get Washington to kick in a matching $2.
This is not a done deal yet, but suspect that most hospitals will agree because 1) they need the money and 2) they need to at least have some measure of promise that they will get paid after all these years.
The hospitals are making an agreement with someone who is not in a position to keep his part of the bargain. Even if he is re-elected, the Governor alone can't provide the money.
The hospitals are being used as a prop in the Governor's re-election campaign.
Do we have details of the agreement?
Is anyone going to get the Gov. on record promising to veto any budget that does not uphold his end of the bargin?
Keep in mind that if the governor wanted to he could call the legislature back, pay for the entire state share of the bill out of the banked surpluss and then return the surpluss under the same formula as this agreement spells out.
So the bottom line is, why aren't we taking care of this right now?
Because the Dems have spent 4 years blaming Angus King and the GOP members have no spine or mansets to step up and reguire that the state honor the bills it owes the people/businesses of Maine.
You will recall that to get payments of even earlier years than this deal the hospitals had to sue the state before they would come to the table.
So, the hospitals contract with the state to deliver services. The state blows the doors of the barn off and expands Medicaid so aggressively that they have services delivered to Medicaid recipients that they have no appropriated funds to pay. The state simply leaves bills unpaid.
Then the state, under the incompetent direction of John Baldacci, negotiates a deal with the desperate hospitals, who are owed hundreds of millions of dollars and Baldacci gets spun as the "hero" who "gets those poor, starving hospitals" paid and rescues health care to live for another day in all parts of Maine.
Then, Baldacci goes to the legislature to see if he can find the cash to back up yet another promise to the hospitals. The GOP is painted into a corner, made to look like the bad guys if they complain. All of this happens right before the election all the while some bills have been unpaid for years.
The hospitals are bending over, grabbing their ankles, while Baldacci tucks it to them. Why the hell the hospitals aren't mobilizing their staffs to work their butts off to defeat Baldacci is beyond me.
My conclusion: Let them take the haircut. If they want to let Baldacci get away with stiffing them, good luck to them. It will be a long time before I give to my favorite hospital charity. They don't need the money, evidently.
[quote="David Hughes"]Previously, this administration has said that we are caught up medicaid payments through to 2003. but this says the settlement goes back to the mid 90's.
someone isn't telling the truth.[/quote]
Does that really surprise you?
Red, I'm on record as saying that if his lips are moving on any issue more contentious then whether to put butter or jam on the toast in the morning then there is something he isn't telling you that you should know.
I stand by my past comments on the matter.
[quote="David Hughes"]Red, I'm on record as saying that if his lips are moving on any issue more contentious then whether to put butter or jam on the toast in the morning then there is something he isn't telling you that you should know.
I stand by my past comments on the matter.[/quote]
And I agreed with you. I'm on the record as making similar statements. It's been over thirty years of being fed the same old crap. I just hope that one day people are going to "wake up".
If I am not mistaken, two thirds of the money to be paid is federal money that is just siting in the bank ready to be dispersed when the state can pony up its one third. It is sad that these doings are so dificult for the average citizen to come to know.
The money sits in the bank, the state collects the interest, and meanwhile, doctors, dentists and hospitals go further into the monetary sinkhole. But, life is good at the Blaine House.
[quote="Naran"]The money sits in the bank, the state collects the interest, and meanwhile, doctors, dentists and hospitals go further into the monetary sinkhole. But, life is good at the Blaine House.[/quote]
I don't think that's the case. I think the providers long ago figured out they probably would not get paid, and if they did, it would be pennies on the dollar. For that, they were forward-thinking. What I speculate has happened, clearly explains why healthcare trends are higher in Maine than in any other state - the providers business models were adjusted and they calculated revenue needed based on receiving $$ only from those with insurance and if/when the state ever does pay, it's gravy. How else could a non-profit hospital survive the cash flow impact for so long if the $$ was needed to cover the cost of providing the care?
So, if the state does pony-up and pay, shall we expect to see healthcare costs paid by insurers going down since providers would be receiving a windfall? Don't keep your fingers crossed. This explains why the hospitals don't hang Baldacci out to dry.
Reality is that the Augusta Apparatchik Administration is MAKING UP the numbers as to how much was unpaid.....and has simply unaccounted for other funds....both FACTS are well-documented. Their accounting is apalling. That is why the draw down of Federal matching Medicaid funds is a real danger...and you can bet the current "structural deficit" has no accounting of funds that Fearless Leader Baldacci is counting, but that Washington will NOT be sending because of the Titular Head government sheer incompetence.
AUDIT! AUDIT! AUDIT!
The hospitals are bending down and grabbing their ankles?
I think the bending and grabbing is far more wide-spread (pardon the pun) than that, Bob, and I think it includes individual taxpayers.
Taxpayer - in actuality, some hospitals are indeed having a hard time with current expenses. I have a friend who works at Southern Maine Medical Center, and they said the increase in MaineCare and Medicaid patients over the last few years has been astronomical. Since the payments are lagging from the state, they've had to do what any other institution would do - put off certain things they would normally pay for, etc.
In addition, there have been some providers who have gone out of business over the last several years, due to the lack of payments. This has been well documented in various news articles. Others have had to go into hospital settings, and give up their private practices. What that does is eliminate good-paying jobs for Mainers, especially in the office staff area.
And finally, the money sitting in the bank does indeed earn interest for the state, and I would very much love to know how much, and where it's going.
The state only gets the federal match when the state puts up its share of the money so there is no money that the state has in the bank.
the rainy day fund Dan.
What's scarey here is how close the state is to losing the federal dollars because of the 3 year time limit on fed re-imbursements. Basically after 3 years the feds can re-allocate the money to anything.
Dan, remember back when the computer snafu started, and they were delaying some $170M a month in payments, or some ridiculous figure like that? I remember reading news articles that stated the money was sitting in the bank for months and months, because they couldn't send it out to the providers. That's the money I'm talking about.
The medicaid computer issues and the money owed to hospitals are two separate issues.
In some ways yes, in some ways no.
They are one issue in the sense of state malfeasance; they are one issue in the sense of Baldacci's failed leadership.
When the ship goes aground, it really doesn't matter who forgot to clean the binocular object lens, or who miscalibrated the radar, or whether the haze gray paint delivery was late.
You the Captain, you get the rap. It's that simple.
I am pointing out that they are two differnt pots of money. Thy could pay the whole $400 million owed to the hospitals and it will have no effect on clearing the computer snafu backlog.
Pay up and move on. Community hospitals are broke.
Maine Government News
Back to current news.
Governor Reaches Agreement with Hospitals
October 11, 2006
AUGUSTA - Governor John Baldacci and the Maine Hospital Association (MHA) announced a plan to resolve outstanding MaineCare debt owed to Maine hospitals and to increase MaineCare hospital payments.
"I am pleased that we have been able to move forward in assuring appropriate payment to Maine's hospitals in a timely fashion," said Governor Baldacci. "We have a shared commitment to the people covered under the MaineCare program and to the providers who care for them."
[quote="Bob Stone"].......The hospitals are bending over, grabbing their ankles, while Baldacci tucks it to them. Why the hell the hospitals aren't mobilizing their staffs to work their butts off to defeat Baldacci is beyond me.
My conclusion: Let them take the haircut. If they want to let Baldacci get away with stiffing them, good luck to them. It will be a long time before I give to my favorite hospital charity. They don't need the money, evidently.[/quote]
Many of the hospitals are talking openly with staff about this issue and encouraging staff to review this in light of voting. At the end of the last session many hospitals openly called on staff to call, write, email, etc the state Reps and Senators to fund the hole and "pay the bills".