Indiana ACT for Families Releases Analysis Revealing Flaws in Methodology Used by Holcomb Administration to Justify Autism Cuts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Today, Indiana ACT for Families released a detailed analysis that has found significant flaws in the methodology used by the Holcomb administration to justify the cuts to ABA Medicaid reimbursement rates.

What Moms Are Saying

  • Kate Miller, mother of a son with autism and founder of non-profit, Ausome Indy, slammed the Holcomb administration’s disregard for Hoosiers with Autism with the new reimbursement rates, stating, “Governor Holcomb’s administration’s use of outdated data to justify cuts will be successful in closing down ABA centers and creating therapy deserts. This is a lose-lose for Hoosier families and kids.”
  • Chanel McClure, Kokomo native and mother of a son with autism, urged the State Budget Committee to reject the Governor’s cuts, stating, “If legislators approve the proposed rate cuts and ABA centers can’t cover their costs, I don’t know what my family will do. It’s disheartening to know that it has come to this and our children will suffer lifelong consequences behind such a poor decision.”

Key Analysis Findings

Cherry-Picked Data

  • Governor Holcomb’s FSSA/OMPP compared Indiana to states with outdated rates. Of the 18 states OMPP used for comparison with rates below $68.24, 1/3 of the states haven’t changed their Medicaid rates in the last 3 – 4 years and more than half haven’t been changed in over 18 months. These outdated rates are pushing down the comparison rate/median utilized by FSSA and giving a misleading picture. 

Reduced Access – Becoming Illinois

  • In Indiana, the availability of clinicians per estimated Medicaid children with ASD is 70% higher than the states FSSA highlighted as comparable model states (MI, KY, OH, IL). By setting a rate below FSSA/OMPPs own cost survey, Governor Holcomb would succeed in making Indiana more like Illinois and fail Hoosier children by shutting down ABA centers and creating therapy deserts for children covered by Medicaid.

A Rate of $76 Achieves Goal to Cut Spending

  • If OMPP/FSSA adjusts their rate proposal to providers’ costs, $76, it will keep centers open while significantly lowering costs for the state. Cutting the rate from the current average reimbursement rate of $101 to $76 will succeed in saving the state roughly $27.5 Million each year (in addition to federal funding savings). The state’s current proposal of $68.24 is below provider costs and will cause shutdowns. To raise the rate just $8 to a sustainable reimbursement level of $76, it would cost the state roughly $9 Million per year – a very small price to pay to protect access to services for children with autism. In fact, $9 Million a year is 0.3% of Indiana’s $2.9 Billion budget surplus at the close of FY23.

National Conservative Leader Says Rate Should Be Rejected

  • Charlie Sauer, Founder and President of the Market Institute, expressed that these cuts are not fiscally responsible. “The Holcomb Administration is senselessly turning their back on Hoosier families instead of dealing with the real issues of Medicaid Expansion. Their faulty rate analysis is based on outdated data,” he said. “It’s not solid conservative policymaking to ignore the real solutions and focus on short-term savings knowing it will lead to higher long-term costs when children with autism don’t receive the care they need. The Holcomb administration is relying on faulty and misleading information to guide bad policy making that won’t address fundamental problems with Medicaid spending.”

The State Budget Committee will convene soon to discuss Medicaid expenditures and review the proposed Medicaid rate cuts for ABA therapy. The Committee should wait to hear public testimony at the Medicaid Oversight Committee hearing in November before moving forward with their formal review.

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