With the looming special session set to begin on November 28th, another round of cuts is on its way.  Having gone through this a few short months ago, few folks are excited – or even able to endure – another round of cuts.

At the Health Care Authority, Doug Porter has identified a series of cuts getting close to a full half-billion dollars.  At the top of the list is the elimination of adult pharmacy benefits.

“OLYMPIA – The Health Care Authority submitted optional budget cuts of 5 percent and 10 percent to the Governor’s office today, including termination of the Basic Health plan, an Apple Health for Kids program that covers immigrant children, and the Disability Lifeline program, which covers temporarily disabled people who can’t qualify for Medicaid.

Because most of Medicaid’s coverage is mandated by federal law, the Health Care Authority’s list is not really an across-the-board cut. Instead, it is a combination of state-only-funded programs and optional Medicaid programs.

“The problem is that even those programs do not add up to the $446 million target in General Fund/State dollars for the 10 percent cut,” said Doug Porter, Health Care Authority Director. “So to make up the difference, we would need to suspend prescription drug coverage for adults up to 18 months to make up the additional $127 million we estimate we would need to hit that target.”

And such is the state of health care in Washington these days.  If you have cardiac arrest, head to the emergency room.  The defibrillator is waiting.  But, if you’re on Medicaid, the state would rather see you again in a few hours to use the defibrillator a second time than make sure you have enough aspirin to make it through the week.