Budgets Cuts Hit Health Care Services In Minnesota, Oklahoma And California

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to cut a net of $347 million from programs for sick, aged, disabled and jobless people is akin to the advice an ailing George Washington got from his doctors 210 years ago, one critic said Monday: Bleed him, in hope of a cure. Pawlenty would eliminate the General Assistance program in which about 20,000 disabled and very-low-income people receive an average of $175 a month. He also would remove about 21,500 childless adults earning between $8,100 and $27,000 from MinnesotaCare, the health insurance program for lower-income working people" (Wolfe, 2/15).

The Oklahoman, on the effects of at least $17 million in cuts to the state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department: "Already almost half of the 400 available beds have been cut. More cuts are on the way. ... Hospitals and their emergency rooms will be asked to pick up the slack for now-missing services. The Oklahoma Hospital Association ran information on mental health and substance abuse center closure issues in a recent newsletter, Executive Director Rick Snyder said. ... He predicts more patients will crowd emergency rooms and hospitals because of drunken driving accidents, domestic violence and attempted suicides resulting from people not getting treatment" (Colberg, 2/15).

The Deseret News reports on the potential loss of the COBRA subsidy for the jobless and a meeting in Utah involving a "subcommittee of lawmakers laboring to make ends meet for state public health and human services programs. ... If Congress doesn't extend a health insurance subsidy program as part of its pending jobs bill, the sky will feel like it's falling for thousands of Americans who will lose their coverage when they lose their jobs" (Thalman, 2/15).

The Orange County Register: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting $104 million from the 2010-2011 budget by eliminating adult day health care services beginning March 1. If the cuts to the $76 daily Medi-Cal reimbursements, which provide the majority of the program's funding, are approved, roughly 37,000 people would lose services by June. ... In 2009, the governor proposed limiting benefits to adult day health care programs to three days a week, but those cuts were killed by a court injunction last fall" (Webb, 2/15).

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