Still-unbalanced Pa. budget looks to reduce Medicaid spending

      (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Pennsylvania lawmakers haven’t yet finished the state budget, which was due Friday. They have until midnight Monday to pass one, or the unbalanced spending plan lawmakers sent to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk last week becomes law — with or without his signature.

    Though little is known about how the final budget will be financed, the spending plan makes it clear that lawmakers aim to look for some savings in health care.

    The single biggest spending reduction in the plan sitting on Wolf’s desk is a more than $350 million decrease in money allocated to Medicaid managed care.

    That’s a nearly 10 percent reduction to the massive fund, which gets cash from the state and federal government.

    Medicaid-managed care involves the state contracting with private care providers to serve patients more cheaply. House Republican Leader Dave Reed said savings could largely come from downward revisions of inflated patient numbers.

    But, he noted, general savings reductions are also on the agenda.

    “There’s no secret, we want to have a serious discussion with the administration, with the Senate, on some changes, perhaps, to our DHS system — particularly the Medicaid program, going forward,” he said Friday.

    Lawmakers tried to reduce Medicaid-related spending in the just-ended fiscal year as well. They ultimately had to allocate more money to fill that gap — spending nearly $200 million more.

    According to Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa, that won’t be the case again.

    “Now, we’ve not concluded our revenue side of the equation,” he said. “But there’s no discussion this year about a need to do a supplemental.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.