Maryland Budget Proposal Includes Cuts For Medicaid

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MarylandGov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Wednesday announced a $15.2 billion fiscal year2009 budget proposal, which includes nearly $125 million to implement legislationto expand subsidized health coverage, the Washington Post reports (Wagner, WashingtonPost, 1/17).

According to the Baltimore Sun, the state faces a projected $1.7billion structural budget deficit for FY 2009, and O'Malley on Wednesday saidfunding for a Medicaid expansion and other programs would not be available ifvoters in November do not approve a slot machine referendum.

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O'Malley's budget also includes $3.5 million to establish a new program forbehavioral health services for veterans in rural areas and to provide money forpublic safety initiatives, including $3 million to expand HIV screening andtreatment of prison inmates (Smitherman, Baltimore Sun, 1/17). Inaddition, the governor has proposed $8.8 million to expand graduate nursingprograms in the state (Washington Post, 1/17). He also includedfunding for programs that improve children's access to dentists.

The budget proposal includes $68 million in cuts to Medicaid, which is possiblebecause of lower-than-expected enrollment in the program, according to state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John Colmers. Colmerssaid, "Nobody's getting cut from services," adding, "We feelthis just makes sense" ( SunWashington Post, 1/17). O'Malley alsoproposed reducing retiree health care expenses (Baltimore, 1/17).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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