Connecticut's state government faces a deficit of $500 million this fiscal year (through June 30, 2002) and over $1 billion next year.
Democratic legislators have been working on their proposals to address both the current and next year's budget deficits. While the details have not been made public, the proposal reportedly includes suspending enrollment of parents into HUSKY for two years, copays for Medicaid and SAGA recipients' prescriptions, increased copays for ConnPACE, cuts to DSH, community health centers, school-based health centers, mental health care for SAGA, home health care, nursing home reimbursements and elimination of the Children's Health Council. The proposal reportedly protects HUSKY A and B children, Medicaid and SAGA from the Governor's proposed cuts. Meanwhile, the administration has implemented a new set of rescissions and freezes, many of which affect health care programs. It is possible that once the legislature passes a budget, those rescissions will be lifted. For more details, including Democratic tax proposals, go to http://www.theday.com/eng/web/mktplace/re.aspx?reIDx=5D6BC895-5309-4322-96F4-EE323759EF3C.
Today's New London Day describes the effects of budget cuts on the already growing numbers of uninsured in Connecticut. For State's Poor, Uninsured Would Feel the Sting of Cuts, go to http://www.theday.com/eng/web/mktplace/re.aspx?reIDx=DC761FC2-D481-4A80-BEDC-1DCE6C3A2CBF.
UConn released a poll showing that most Connecticut residents support raising the income tax to cover the budget deficit. While most support the Governor's deficit reduction plan, most oppose laying off state workers. Neither the Governor nor legislators get high marks for handling the crisis. http://www.ctnow.com/news/custom/newsat3/hc-ap-taxpoll-0130,0,3003342.story?coll=hc%2Dheadlines%2Dnewsat3.
1/8/2003 Legislative Session Opens
1/8/2003 Health Care Under Budget Ax: Medicaid Cutbacks Would Hurt Poor, Hartford Courant
1/7/2003 Group of Democrats offer alternative budget, Hartford Courant
12/21/2002 "State Says it Erred on Layoff Benefits" Hartford Courant - State employees facing layoffs were originally told they would receive 6 months of health coverage, but the state Department of Administrative Services just announced that there is only enough money in the account to afford 4 weeks of coverage. The state maintains that it is not obligated to provide those benefits, however that has been the precedent. Honoring the 6 month promise would cost $8 to $10 million. After state-funded benefits are exhausted, laid off employees would be able to purchase benefits at full cost under federal COBRA protections. COBRA costs for state employees range from $250 to $457/month for individuals, $552 to $1006/month for a subscriber and one dependent, and $678 to $1235 for family coverage.
12/18/2002 General Assembly special session on the budget. No action taken. Read the Governor's address to the legislature.
12/11/2002 General Assembly's Appropriations Committee holds hearing on proposed cuts. Read the Connecticut Health Policy Project's Testimony to the General Assembly's Appropriations Committee.
12/6/2002 The Governor releases details of his spending reduction proposal. They include serious and disproportionate cuts to health programs, including HUSKY and SAGA. For full details of the proposal, go to http://www.cthealthpolicy.org/docs/budget_proposals.doc.
12/6/2002 Almost 3000 state employees receive layoff notices including many health-related staff.
12/5/2002 Governor John Rowland addresses the state outlining his proposal for addressing the deficit, including layoffs, spending reductions and a millionaire's tax. For text of the Governor's remarks, go to http://www.state.ct.us/governor/news/120502budget.htm
12/4/2002 Comptroller Nancy Wyman proposes options to address the deficit without employee layoffs or significant program cuts. For more details on her proposal, go to http://www.osc.state.ct.us/public/pressrl/2002/december04.htm.
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