States Could Cut Health Programs To Deal With Loss of Federal Funding
A number of states are looking at cutting health programs and budgets, as revenues continue to lag and federal stimulus money is set to end, Kaiser Health News/USA Today reports.
Many states face a growing demand for health-related services. However, most voters do not want to raise taxes.
According to estimates from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 44 states and the District of Columbia project budget shortfalls totaling $125 billion for fiscal year 2012.
The federal stimulus money that helped many states avoid certain cuts is scheduled to end on June 30. Further, states risk losing federal funding if they cut eligibility for Medicaid.
Although states enacted $6.2 billion in new taxes and fees during the previous year -- down from $23.9 billion in FY 2010 -- the new funds are not enough and many states have turned to cutting programs. For example:
- South Carolina cut hospice care for Medicaid patients this month;
- Arizona has stopped paying for organ transplants for Medicaid beneficiaries; and
- California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has proposed a budget plan that would limit Medicaid beneficiaries to six prescriptions monthly and 10 doctor visits annually.
In all, at least 28 states this year are expected to make cuts to health assistance programs (Appleby, Kaiser Health News/USA Today, 2/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.