States Face Health Spending Cuts

The Boston Globe: "President Obama's demand to delete 'special deals' in the health care package would eliminate $500 million in extra Medicaid cash for Massachusetts, but Bay State lawmakers say they are confident the state would recoup that and probably more once negotiations are complete. Obama, facing an electorate angry over side deals in the massive package, has told congressional leaders to remove them to make the proposal more salable to the public. One of those deals is a Senate provision to reimburse Massachusetts and Vermont for having already expanded Medicaid coverage to a broader base of low-income people. But Senator John F. Kerry, a key Obama ally in the health care talks, said the White House has given him personal assurances that Massachusetts will not suffer in the final package" (Milligan, 3/12).

The Associated Press: "The South Dakota Legislature's plans to cut state spending next year were thrown into question Thursday when lawmakers learned the state might get an extra $36 million in federal aid. ... Legislative leaders said they want to find out whether Congress gives final approval by the end of March to a measure that would provide states with extra federal money for Medicaid, the state-federal program that pays the medical expenses of poor people. ... The delay in finishing work on the state budget will give South Dakota officials time to find out if the expected extra federal aid can be used to patch holes in the state budget, said Senate Appropriations Chair Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton" (Brokaw, 3/11).

The Arizona Republic: "State lawmakers delivered on Gov. Jan Brewer's promise to end the days of 'expanded government,' passing a budget Thursday that eliminates programs and cuts $1.1 billion in spending. On largely party-line votes, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved an $8.9 billion spending plan that ends a health-care program for 47,000 low- income children, removes 310,000 adults from state health coverage and cuts the funds that were one of the last best hopes for the state parks system to stay afloat. The cuts are needed, Republicans said, to bring state spending in line with its sagging revenue. Arizona faced a $2.6 billion deficit for fiscal 2011" (Pitzl, 3/12)

The [South Carolina] State: "The S.C. House will not have to tighten the belt on state spending quite so much when legislators begin debating the budget next week. Congress is poised to approve $200 million more in state aid, which would reverse some proposed cuts in the $5.1 billion budget plan. And state revenues - which have been in free fall for two years - are stabilizing. Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a six-month extension for stimulus-related state health care money. House lawmakers said Thursday they plan to use the roughly $200 million to restore cuts that could have eliminated services for 26,000 of the state's disabled, cut access to state-funded health care for children in low-income families and restricted the number of prescription drugs for Medicaid patients" (O'Connor, 3/12).

The Columbia Missourian: "Facing the largest revenue decline in Missouri history, Gov. Jay Nixon cut an additional $126 million from the current budget Thursday. Revenue collections for fiscal year 2010 have declined 12.7 percent as of March 1, according to the Office of Administration. More than $850 million in cuts have been made to the fiscal year 2010 budget since it was passed in May. According to Budget Director Linda Luebbering, almost 60 percent of the $126 million will come from savings in Medicaid ... because of an increase in match rates" (Essig, 3/11).

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