The federal stimulus and SCHIP: How much help is there for CT’s health?

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A new analysis by the CT Health Policy Project details significant relief for CT’s consumers and our state budget in new federal legislation. CT can expect $1.3 billion in higher Medicaid reimbursements raising our matching rate from 50% to 56.2% until the end of next year, but the money comes with strings. To qualify the state cannot reduce Medicaid eligibility or change procedures or methodology; the Governor’s proposal to eliminate self-declaration of income could violate that requirement. As our unemployment rate hit 7.1% and is expected to rise higher, the provision subsidizing 65% of COBRA costs for recently laid off workers and their families will be critical to keeping people from losing coverage. Significant incentives through Medicaid and Medicare will help providers and hospitals adopt electronic health records, improving cost, quality and efficiency. There is also increased DSH funding for hospitals who serve low income patients who cannot pay their bills.

Reauthorization of SCHIP increases CT’s allotment available to cover HUSKY Part B children, however CT has never come close to using our entire share. In fact, the Governor has proposed to increase premiums for HUSKY Part B children which would make the program unaffordable for more children. One ray of hope in the SCHIP bill grants federal matching funds for legal immigrants; until now states did not get reimbursed for recent immigrants and CT has had to pay for their HUSKY coverage with all state funds. The Governor has also proposed eliminating coverage for legal immigrants, but now the price tag for the General Assembly to save that provision has been cut in half.
For more detail, go to The Federal Stimulus Package and passage of the SCHIP bill: How much health care help can CT expect?
Ellen Andrews