Lanier Cansler, head of the state Department of Health and Human Services, sent an edgy letter to legislative leaders this afternoon, saying the Medicaid savings in the state budget were "unreasonable and unobtainable."
Legislators met today to discuss a potential $139 million shortfall in Medicaid this year.
Cansler was not there, but sent this letter afterward to House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger.
"I trust the presentation made this morning by Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services Mike Watson provided you the information needed to better understand why aggressive budget cuts mandated by the General Assembly's budget are unreasonable and unobtainable. The true nature of these cuts was pointed out to you in letters from Governor Perdue dated May 27, 2011 and June 2, 2011. Nonetheless, I had hoped to be able to reach these savings, and the Department has reached the point that it has done what it can do.
"As requested by the General Assembly, a list of further cuts to services and provider rates to meet these aggressive reductions will be provided to you. These will be devastating cuts to North Carolina's medical providers and to our citizens in need of those medical services.
"Unless you provide different instructions, I will assume you support these drastic steps."
Legislators said after the meeting today that they do not want any more service or rate cuts. Tillis raised the possibility of using a budget surplus to help close the hole.
Cansler is set to discuss Medicaid budget options with legislators Nov. 8.
That meeting should be interesting.