Medicaid Cuts

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An advocacy group for older Americans accused Gov. Perdue of throwing a "one-two punch" at Georgia's seniors with new Medicaid cost controls it labeled "capricious and callous."

The Georgia chapter of AARP said in a letter to Perdue that his push to curb state health spending costs leaves needy seniors in a bind.

The group's criticism was leveled at two budget-tightening efforts.

Under one of the proposals, some 1,700 Georgia nursing home patients were scheduled to lose benefits effective July first through the shutdown of a portion of the Medicaid program designed to help the medically needy.

That program provided benefits for those who make a little too much to qualify for Medicaid, but were unable to afford the $3,500 to $4,000 a month expense of a nursing home. Perdue since has offered a 90-day reprieve.

Under a second step, the state will seek to recover the costs of nursing home care after death from thousands more through an "estate recovery" program that could include placing liens on their private homes.

Perdue spokesman Dan McLagan said the budget is tight. He asked whether the AARP would prefer to get the money through cuts to education, health car for children or a tax increase.