States Face Unpopular Cuts In Health Spending

State governments, especially New York's, are facing budget gaps that officials hope to close with cuts to health spending. But, their constituents are resisting the proposed changes that could result in fewer services.

Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.): "Nearly 500 people showed up Tuesday for a hearing in Brookhaven on Gov. David A. Paterson's proposed budget cuts, many of them asking for schools and services for the disabled to be spared." The cuts would "eliminate $65 million for group homes and education programs that help the disabled live independently" (Madore, 10/27).

The Queens (N.Y.) Courier: A group of "about 100 non-profit nursing homes in the state ... is trying to get Paterson and the legislature to back off yet another round of budget cuts." The cuts would come on top of $240 million in earlier reductions over the last few years, the nursing homes say, and could mean up to half a million dollars in losses for a single home (Mimoni, 10/27).

WIVB: In Buffalo, N.Y., "Protesters made passionate calls to save two health clinics from the county executive's budget axe." The cuts would eliminate all primary care services at the country's last two health clinics (Walker, 10/27).

The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph: "The Medical Center of Central Georgia is cutting hours, clinics and pharmacy offerings at its W.T. Anderson Health Center, which provides primary and specialty care to the poor." The reduction in services, which will also mean no longer taking some new primary care patients, comes as the result of a $3 million cut in the hospital's share of the county budget (Duncan, 10/28).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Details of proposed budget cuts in Missouri – to take be finalized today – remain "under wraps," but "health care providers say the administration has warned them of potential cuts in Medicaid rates for nursing home services and in-home care for the poor, elderly and disabled" (Young, 10/27).

The Wall Street Journal: "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday reiterated his call for Congress to pass a bill this year to overhaul the U.S. health-care system, while also expressing concerns about the legislation's potential impact on state budgets." Expansions of the Medicaid program to cover the uninsured could end up costing California more than $1 billion in matching spending (Woo, 10/28).

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