Governor’s latest budget proposal includes cuts to health care

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Governor Rell’s latest budget proposal includes cuts to health care programs including $50 million in FY 2010 and $52m in FY 2011 (6%) cuts to HMO capitation rates in HUSKY resulting from an audit of those rates by the Office of State Comptroller ($19m and $23m net savings to the state after accounting for the enhanced federal matching rate). She agrees to self-insurance for the state employee plan, but not until March, 2011. Consumers in the Charter Oak Health Plan would have to pay higher premiums under her proposal, varying from an additional $18.94/month for those under 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to $5.73/month for those between 235 and 300% of FPL. The FPL is currently $10,830 for a single person. She would also impose monthly premiums of $25/child up to $30 max/family on HUSKY Part B children between 185% and 235% of FPL. She also increases copays on all HUSKY Part B children. She agrees with the Appropriations Committee proposal to establish Special Needs Plans for consumers eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (although she doesn’t believe this will save as much as Approp.s does). She assumes increased savings due to Medicaid fraud investigation. Her proposal also includes reducing Medicaid provider rates by 1%, hiring a company to manage services for the Aged, Blind and Disabled in Medicaid, implementing the SAGA waiver, requiring prior authorization for some dental care, eliminate eyeglass coverage for adults in Medicaid, a reduction in DSH funding to hospitals to cover the uninsured and Medicaid underpayments (net savings of $1m in each budget year), eliminates HUSKY outreach, and 10% cuts to Healthy Start programs. Her proposal also includes increased cost sharing for consumers the CT Home Care Program, reductions in nursing home administrative costs, and fewer homes will get rate increases. She also proposes cuts in non-entitlement block grant programs including elderly health screenings, teen pregnancy prevention, and support for community action agencies. To ensure CT receives the enhanced federal stimulus money, she adds back funding for HUSKY self-declaration of income and adult premiums. Her budget also cuts funding to community health centers, the needle exchange program, community services for people with AIDS, and the nursing and primary care loan repayment program. Overall her budget cuts $667m in FY 10 and $787m in FY 11. She is proposing these cuts in order to avoid tax increases.
Ellen Andrews