The legislature’s appropriations committee has released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 14 and FY 15. Below we describe several services or programs related to HUSKY and how they compare with the Governor’s budget proposal from February. The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee also released its proposal for how the government will fund the two-year budget.
- HUSKY A Parents. The Appropriations Committee restored eligibility for HUSKY A (Medicaid) parents with income between 133% and 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The Governor had proposed eliminating coverage for the 37,500 parents with income above 133% FPL. (This adds back $5.6 million in FY14 and $58.8 million in FY15.)
- Co-Payment for Non-Emergency Use of Hospital Emergency Department. The Committee proposes to impose a co-pay on certain Medicaid (HUSKY A, C and D) enrollees of up to $7.90. The budget document explains that “under federal law, states may charge co-payments for non-emergency use of emergency room services.” It also acknowledges that co-pays may not be imposed on certain categories of individuals, such as children. The Governor’s budget did not include this proposal. The Committee expects to save $675,000 in each of the two years of the budget cycle.
- Healthy Start. The Committee restored funding for community-based Healthy Start programs that assist pregnant women in accessing health coverage and prenatal care. (Adds back $1.43 million in FY14 and FY15. (Carries forward 5% cut from rescissions in FY13.)
- HUSKY Independent Performance Monitoring (“Children’s Health Council” line item). The Committee restored funding for independent monitoring of enrollment patterns and long-term trends in the use of children’s health services, including well-child, dental, emergency, and asthma care. Since 1995 these analyses have been conducted by Connecticut Voices for Children under a contract between DSS and the Hartford Foundation for Public. (Adds back $208,050 in FY14 and FY15. Carries forward 5% cut from rescissions in FY13.)
- 2-1-1/United Way’s HUSKY Infoline (“HUSKY Informational and Referral” line item). This longstanding service provides families with one-on-one assistance with information, accessing coverage and obtaining needed care. The Governor proposed halving the funding in FY14 and eliminating it entirely in FY15 with the expectation that the new help lines available through the new Health Insurance Exchange will take the place of services provided through Infoline. The Committee agrees with the Governor’s proposal. (Retains reduction of $159,393 in FY14 and -0- in FY15).
- School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs). The Committee restores funding for “new, expanded, or newly funded SBHCs” from FY13 carrying the funding forward in both FY14 and FY15 ($2.7 million per year). Also, $5 million was added to permit five school districts to increase hours of operation, conduct outreach about their services, provide services to “students outside the school district”, or offer behavioral health and other services not ‘typically provided by SBHCs.”
- Funding for Hospitals. For the most part, the Committee agrees with the Governor’s proposal to reduce hospital funding by hundreds of millions of dollars. The proposals assume that many more individuals will be covered by public and private insurance in 2014 and therefore hospitals will no longer need “Disproportionate Share Hospital” (DSH) payments that account for hospitals serving those who lack insurance.
We assume that it will not be easy for the Governor and the legislature to come to an agreement on the revenue and spending package before the regular session ends on June 5th. As a result, it is vital that constituents contact legislative leadership and the Governor and make their preferences heard.
Also, please take the time to thank the co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Toni Harp and Representative Toni Walker for restoring funding for HUSKY parents with income above 133% FPL.
- Senator Toni Harp 1-800-842-1420
- Rep. Toni Walker 1-800-842-8267