by State Representative Dave Yaccarino
On September 18, Governor Malloy single-handedly passed $103 million in new budget cuts, including $63.4 million in reduced Medicaid payments to hospitals. The result of these cuts would increase hospitals’ tax liability to the state by over $267 million between fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016, raising the state tax burden for hospitals to almost $500 million annually.
Following the cuts announced by the governor’s office, I joined fellow House & Senate Republican lawmakers and representatives from Connecticut hospitals to call for a special session to reject the governor’s proposed cuts, and instead make broad trimmings to the state budget. It is evident that these newly instated cuts, in addition to cuts already made in our June budget, will negatively affect Connecticut’s most vulnerable patients, jobs and our economy. Judging by the nearly 500 emails I received in opposition to these cuts, you all feel the same way.
According to hospital executives, the $63 million slash to Medicaid reimbursement funding will actually result in a $190 million loss to hospitals because the state will also forfeit federal matching dollars by cutting Medicaid funding at the state level.
These cuts are short sighted to say the least; the Malloy administration is acting irresponsibly and the legislature should be called into a special session to review the $103 million in funding cuts. Rather than the governor unilaterally imposing cuts he feels are just, we need to have a discussion over what prospects could be trimmed, and then come to a consensus – only after factoring in what would do the most good for the most people.
The $63.4 million reduction in Medicaid payments to hospitals is another example of the Malloy administration chasing businesses out of Connecticut and hurting the neediest of our citizens. Without any action to revoke these cuts, it will inevitably force hospitals to lay off their staff, further exacerbate the burden carried by Connecticut taxpayers, and create a greater dependency on social services and cuts to programs that the state’s most vulnerable patients rely on. The health of the residents of our state should not be compromised to make up for our government’s reckless spending habits.
Furthermore, the top two Democratic leaders have publicly criticized Governor Malloy for his decision to cut funding from health care and social services, but neither of them has yet decided to use their authority to call the legislature in for a special session. It will now be up to the legislature to reach a simple majority in an attempt to reverse these short sighted cuts. These cuts are a direct result of one-party rule and a poorly drafted budget. I am urging the majority party and its leadership to do what is right for our state and its people and call for a special session.