And Secretary Mandy Cohen has had quite enough:
Cohen has spent a lot of time at the legislative building in Raleigh this week, working the halls and talking to budget writers about her qualms with the budget. She’s also been making media appearances to reiterate her priorities and concerns.
Cohen also sharply criticized the legislature for cutting out $42 million in recurring administrative funds over the coming two years. Additionally, she said that as the budget stands right now, the Medicaid budget is $63 million short. “It’s dramatic. It’s irresponsible,” she said. “It’s not like we’re trying to manage some really trying times. No one has given me an answer in this building about why are we doing this cut? We’re not in a recession. Why are they doing it this year… other than to play games?” Cohen said.
There are a couple of obvious reasons, and they both have to do with Medicaid Expansion. Cohen has been pushing them hard for it, and has the data to back up her arguments. That makes her the "enemy" in the eyes of irresponsible and capricious Republicans, so whatever levers they can pull to exert pressure on her are being pulled with a vengeance. But there's also something else: Using the excuse of a procedure change (switching to managed care), they're cutting her staff, which will make it much more difficult to handle Medicaid Expansion if it did get approved. And that will become one more reason for them to not approve it. Create a crisis, and then lament said crisis. Standard operating procedure. Dr. Cohen also has a completely unnecessary and disruptive move looming: