FOR the second August in a row, heads of the various state agencies are drafting plans to cut their budgets by 7.5 percent in an effort to trim $75 million from the state budget.
The money will help cover part of the increase in state spending on Medicaid, which cost $2.7 billion in state and federal taxes just two years ago.
The costs will climb higher as Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the Legislature made another 91,500 people eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare, which will cover the full costs for the first three years.
The rising price of Medicaid can be reduced.
Rhode Island, the Ocean State, has done just that.
In the waning days of the Bush administration, the federal government granted Rhode Island a waiver. The state now requires doctors, nursing homes and other Medicaid vendors to make competitive bids.
"Seniors have absolutely benefited from being moved out of nursing homes into home and community-based care. The program is moving in the right direction for seniors," said Kathleen Connell, head of the state's AARP, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
Rhode Island squeezed waste and fraud from the system, which reduced its Medicaid spending by 1.1 percent while costs rose in the 49 other states.