Appropriations passes a budget

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Today, the Appropriations Committee passed their version of the state budget, about $100 million below the Governor’s proposal. The Committee cut $110 million from Medicaid, HUSKY and nursing homes for cost and caseload updates – the Committee believes that the Medicaid budget has been inflated in recent years by the administration and wants to use that excess funding for other priorities. Committee Chairs voiced concerns that many of last year’s initiatives have not been implemented by the Dept. of Social Services while money sits waiting and the need grows. The Committee also did not approve the Governor’s proposal to add $5 million more to the current $11 million Charter Oak Plan budget, stating that it was premature to add to a program that hasn’t been implemented yet. The Committee added $10 million for increased nursing home staffing levels, $1.5 million to restore Medicaid podiatry and chiropractic care, and increases to various providers. The Committee rejected the Governor’s proposal to weaken Medicaid’s medical necessity definition and restored the Governor’s cut to medical interpretation services. The Committee added money to the Dept. of Public Health for more HIV/AIDS surveillance staff, more health planning staff, a nursing loan forgiveness program, more school-based health centers, and a comprehensive cancer plan. Overall, the Committee came in almost $78 million below the Governor’s proposal for Medicaid and $109 million under for DSS overall.
Ellen Andrews