LTC 'most obvious' spot for potential Medicaid savings, says prominent editorial

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"The most obvious potential spot for additional savings is long-term care, which consumes some 40 percent of the nation's Medicaid budget." So surmises an editorial in the New York Times this week, which pondered the plight of Medicaid funding.

The opinion piece from the editorial board calls plugging spend-down "loopholes" that allow "many" middle-class individuals to qualify for Medicaid nursing home coverage an "overdue reform."

"Medicaid exists to provide health coverage for people who couldn't otherwise afford it, not to protect the assets of wealthier people so they can be passed on to heirs," the piece states.

Generally, the administration's crackdown on "shady accounting tactics" used by some states to increase federal Medicaid matching funding is "wholly justified," the editorial says, while also noting that it will also add to the stress on healthcare providers. Cutting Medicaid funding is especially painful to states, which can earn $1 to $3 for every dollar eligible for matching funding.

The situation could get much worse soon, however, despite slowly rebounding state revenues, the Times writes. That's because a one-year federal injection of $10 billion for Medicaid relief is set to expire at the end of June.