On Jan. 1, the Washington State Medicaid program stopped paying for six different categories of so-called "optional" care, ranging from hearing aids and eyeglasses to dental care for adults.
In the fall, Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed deeper reductions but restored some of the most heavily criticized cuts to hospice services, prescriptions, family planning, physical and occupational therapy, and dialysis, nursing home care and chemotherapy for a small group of undocumented residents who would otherwise die.
The cuts end all non-emergency adult dental care for Medicaid recipients (a dental program for developmentally disabled adults will continue), all hearing aid purchases or repairs (hearing exams are still covered), all eyeglass or frame purchases (eye exams are still covered), all foot care for conditions that are not acute, all school-based medical services and all Medicare Part D prescription co-pays for the elderly and disabled.
The Department of Social and Health Services has also proposed cutting all medical coverage for 21,000 people on the state's Disability Lifeline program, beginning March 1, including all rehab services under the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment and Support Act (ADATSA), medical coverage for 27,000 children and all interpreter services for Medicaid clients.