State gets a $152 million break on Medicare
The federal government will cut the state's Medicare prescription drug bill by $152 million, according to Gov. Bev Perdue.
The $152 million is the state's share of the $4.3 billion in temporary Medicare cost cuts announced last week.
Under a federal law passed in 2003, the states help pay Medicare prescription drug costs for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The states' shares of those costs are called clawback payments.
As she announced the reductions, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the money the states save can be used to help pay for Medicaid.
Medicaid is the fastest-growing part of the state budget, according to a recent study.
According to the federal government's calculations, the state will pay $400.6 million in clawback payments instead of $552.9million.
The reductions will apply to the period from Oct. 1, 2008, to the end of this year. The money to cover the cost is coming from the federal stimulus package.
Read more at N&O.
The state's Medicaid budget was on track to be $250 million in the red by the end of the year.