Board: no action on state Medicaid, welfare, prisons deficit

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- If you are enrolled in the state's Medicaid program, there is news that could have a major impact on your health care.

The Budget and Control Board Tuesday said it would take no action before January on a $228 million deficit in the Department of Health and Human Services' Medicaid program.

"We've grown by over 100,000 people since the recession began at the same time we have lost $228 million in state funds, we've had over $500 million taken out of reserves and we are restricted by both state and federal law in terms of what we can do to make up savings optional services are the only place we can go right now in terms of reducing expenditures," said Jeff Stensland with Health and Human Services.

If the Board does not address the deficit, Medicaid will stop payments to doctors and hospitals in March.

Stensland says, "if they don't recognize the deficit...they can't pay providers for treating people...that is the option...if they don't recognize the that case we no longer have a functioning Medicaid program."

The Board also opted not to act on deficits of $29 million and more than $7 million at the Department of Social Services and the Department of Corrections.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)