June 30, 2020
For Immediate Release
Raleigh, NC-- Once again, Cal Cunningham has been exposed for saying one thing when his record says another. Despite his efforts to try to position himself as a Medicaid champion, the Raleigh News & Observer reported today that Cunningham voted to cut Medicaid in 2001.
“In a budget he (Cunningham) supported in 2001, Democrats cut the state’s reimbursement rate to 95% for doctors treating Medicaid patients, cut the fee the state would pay to pharmacists for brand-name drugs and added a $47.5-million program for community-based mental health services as part of a deal to end a long budget standoff” (Raleigh News & Observer, 6/30/20)
“Cal Cunningham wants voters to think he’s a champion for Medicaid, but the fact is that he voted to cut Medicaid multiple times when he was in the legislature and did nothing to weed out the fraud, waste, and abuse that endangered the program for the people who depend on it,” said NCGOP Press Secretary Tim Wigginton. “While Senator Tillis spent his time in the legislature cleaning up the Medicaid mess he inherited, Cal Cunningham's dishonesty on the issue is just another example of him saying one thing and doing another, and why North Carolina voters know that he can’t be trusted.”
Cunningham voted to cut Medicaid twice while he was a state Senator.
“In 2001, legislators responded to depressed revenue forecasts by cutting state Medicaid funding by $44 million, among other measures. The 2002 continuation budget included a net cut to state Medicaid spending of $128 million, net of all enhanced Federal matching funds that were made available to the state in that year in response to the recession. These actions resulted in a total loss of approximately $483 million in federal matching funds between 2001 and 2003.” (NC Policy Watch, 6/4/11)
A liberal health policy advocate said the 2001 Cunningham-backed budget had “substantial” cuts to Medicaid.
“So are advocates for Medicaid patients, universities and the public schools, who say that the new $ 14.4 billion spending plan that emerged from the General Assembly at the end of the week contains a healthy dose of good news for them, too. ‘It could have really been a lot worse,’ said Adam Searing, an advocate for the poor on a variety of health policy issues. ‘Medicaid was the fastest-growing part of this budget, and we avoided huge cuts in the program. There are substantial ones, but it’s not as bad as it could have been.’” (Amy Gardner, “Budget Spares Health, Education Programs,” News & Observer, 9/23/01)
The same liberal health policy advocate opposed the 2001 state budget proposal that cunningham ultimately voted for because it raised prescription co-payments on the poor and lowered doctor reimbursements, which could lead to Medicaid patients being turned away.
“Adam Searing, project director for N.C. Health Access Coalition objected to the proposal to raise prescription co-payments on the poor, which he said could harm the sickest Medicaid patients who rely on multiple prescriptions each month. And lowering doctor reimbursements could push physicians to turn Medicaid patients away, limiting their access to proper care, Searing and others said.” (Amy Gardner, “Key Programs Face Deep Cuts In Budget Plan,” News & Observer, 5/8/01)