Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts Would Shift Costs onto HUSKY Families and Providers and Result in Thousands of Children Losing Health Coverage

Back • Publication Date: December 7th, 2009

Authors: Mary Alice Lee, Ph.D.

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Just as the economic recession has increased unemployment and increased the risk of families losing employer-based health coverage, Governor Rell has proposed balancing the budget with substantial cuts to children’s health care coverage in the HUSKY Program. The Fiscal Year 2010 budget cuts she proposes would make coverage less affordable for nearly 16,000 children in Connecticut’s successful HUSKY B Program by imposing new and increased premiums and increasing co-payments for services.

The new and increased premiums would result in thousands of children losing HUSKY coverage. When HUSKY B premiums were raised in 2004 and again in 2005, thousands of children would have lost coverage had the premium increases gone into effect. Recognizing the harmful impact, policymakers repealed the premiums — twice. Connecticut should avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Co-payments would discourage use of needed health care. Families that have difficulties paying co-payments for care are likely to forego needed care or be turned away by providers who have been unable to collect for previous visits.

In order to “save” $1 in state funds for HUSKY B, the Governor must cut over $3 in spending and forego federal matching dollars. For every dollar Connecticut spends on HUSKY B, the federal government reimburses 65 percent.