Medicaid, State Health Programs Face Continued Budget Cuts

Voters in a Pennsylvania poll expressed their opposition to the cuts proposed by the state's governor. Meanwhile, though, a number of states continue to wrestle with these spending challenges.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Poll: Don't Make Health, Education Cuts — Tax Drilling, Voters Say
According to a Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College Poll, Pennsylvanians strongly oppose [Gov.] Corbett's education and Medicaid cuts. Meanwhile, they favor taxing the natural-gas industry, and smokeless tobacco and cigars, and selling the state-owned liquor stores to private companies (Foster, 3/17).

Health News Florida: Medicaid Overhaul On Roll In House
A House health committee overwhelmingly approved Thursday a plan that would shift hundreds of thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries into HMOs and other managed-care plans, as Republican leaders rush to rein in the roughly $20 billion program. Part of the bill also changed the way the $1-billion-a-year Low Income Pool – which pays for the care of poor and uninsured patients –is divvied up among hospitals (Saunders, 3/17).

San Francisco Chronicle: California Legislature OKs Deep Budget Cuts
The California Legislature began voting on billions of dollars in cuts to state spending Wednesday, with both houses approving measures to slash the welfare-to-work program and severely curtail health benefits for poor and working families. Those measures now head to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. ... Lawmakers in the both houses approved billions of dollars worth of cuts to state welfare programs and aid for developmentally disabled people and also voted to cut billions from the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families program for the poor (Buchanan and Lagos, 3/17).

Star Tribune: Bill Aims To Cut Spending On Health Care For Poor
Legislative Republicans indicated Wednesday that they will seek broad federal authority to revamp Minnesota's major health care programs for the poor, in addition to broad but unspecified cuts in human services as they struggle to deal with the state's budget deficit. The health and human services spending bill now taking shape in the House would seek flexibility to cut services, eligibility and, ultimately, costs of Medicaid programs, which are projected to cost the state $3.2 billion for the year starting July 1 and $4.5 billion the following year (Wolfe, 3/16).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Christie Targets Health Benefits Without Bargaining
Gov. Christie said Wednesday that he would not negotiate health benefits for public workers through collective bargaining and instead would try to change the law to increase contributions toward health premiums (Katz, 3/17).

Chicago Sun-Times: Ill. Republicans Want $5 Billion In Cuts To Education, Health Care, Pensions
In Springfield, Republicans identified $6.7 billion in potential cuts from which to choose, including $1.3 billion in Medicaid cuts that would come by tightening eligibility for health-care programs such as All Kids and FamilyCare, which were both signature initiatives under impeached, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Di Benedetto and Sweet, 3/18). 

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