Attorneys for the state and for ten N.H. hospitals are in federal court this week. The hospitals are suing the state over major cuts in Medicaid they say are impacting medical services for low income patients.
Ten of the state’s largest hospitals say that $130 million in state Medicaid cuts is not only forcing hospitals to cut services to the poor, but they are also illegal. Gordon Macdonald is the hospital’s attorney.
“The state didn’t consider what effect these rates would have on access to care for New Hampshire citizens. And at some point the Medicaid rates get so low that providers cannot sustain it.”
Macdonald contends that under federal law, the state cannot cut Medicaid payments so much that access to healthcare for patients is threatened. Most of the hospitals in the lawsuit have already had major layoffs since the cuts were implemented last year and say they plan to limit the numbers of Medicaid patients they serve. Assistant attorney general Nancy Smith says that the hospitals, which are some of New Hampshire largest employers, can weather the budget cuts without targeting low income patients.
“We’re saying that we are complying with Medicaid law, that we understand they don’t like the cuts, but they can live with them in the time period they have been imposed.”
Arguments for the case will continue on Friday in Federal court.