It’s only a matter of time before all the opponents of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget cuts join forces and start making the decisions about how to keep the state’s budget in balance. The latest influential group to object to Medicaid cuts is the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) made up of 7,000-plus physician members.
CSMS President Robert Russo wants state leaders to reconsider the cuts. “These unexpected and unprecedented rescissions to the 2016-2017 Medicaid budget will dramatically reduce access to care for the neediest patients across the state, the nearly one in five Connecticut residents who today rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage,” Russo said.
“It will be more difficult for patients to get preventive care services, which have been proven to reduce health care costs in the long run. It will be more difficult for patients with complex health issues and chronic conditions to get medically-necessary care in a timely manner, which will lead to many more complications and higher costs to Connecticut in the long run. These Medicaid rescissions are short-sighted and threaten the health of our patients,” Russo said.
Last week, Malloy ordered $103 million in budget cuts including $63.4 million slashed from Medicaid reimbursements. Republicans legislative leaders led by Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano joined hospital officials in crying foul. Fasano and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides sounded a now-familiar call—they want a special session to deal with the budget situation. Malloy’s cuts came less than three months into the fiscal year.
The GOP leaders and hospitals aren’t alone. Senate President Marty Looney and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey are also troubled by the cuts which in addition to Medicaid, hits the most vulnerable in other areas such as mental health and addiction services.
“These cuts will have a multiplier effect — jeopardizing federal reimbursements — adding to my concerns about the financial viability of the smaller, community-based hospitals with potentially devastating impacts on patient care and the workforces of these facilities that are, in many cases, the largest employer in a community,” Looney said told CTNewjunkie.com. There is no indication the Democrats will agree to a special session but they are feeling the pressure from social services advocates.
For Malloy’s part, his spokesman has basically said to hospitals, “Stop paying your CEOs obscene amounts of money, then come talk to us about Medicaid cuts.” Just how long that diversion works remains to be seen.