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Friday, February 24, 2012

Filing and fulminating at the Capitol

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Election filing continues. Still no big surprises by midday. People who've said they were going to run are indeed filing to run. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin did the filing honors for Mitt Romney. Wonder if Romney might want to come down here to fight plans for a decent day center for veterans?

Joint Budget is meeting this morning. Republicans are raising the roof about an increased estimate on Medicaid costs in 2013. They feel sandbagged by Gov. Mike Beebe. Beebe's defense is that he doesn't believe his DHS agency's estimate. Hmmm. Something is disconnected in that, don't you think?

But it's worth noting that these are all just about estimates and they depend on many things, including federal reimbursement rates in the future and whether a new approach to Medicaid coverage could produce savings for the state.

Beebe is right about one thing: borrowing money from surplus this year to pay Medicaid operating costs this year will only increase the size of the operating deficit to be made up next year when the surplus is gone. It fixes nothing. Only a reduction in benefits, a reduction in payments to providers, a slash in other state agency budgets or a tax increase will fix it. Simple arithmetic, really, though loaded with consequences.

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