In February, Governor Corbett released his proposed budget for this year. Not surprisingly, it continues the assault on working families and our state’s most vulnerable citizens by slashing funding for schools, nursing homes and services for those who need it most. By turning his back on the needs of the 99% in exchange for the interests of the 1%, Governor Corbett is proving whose side he’s really on.
Governor Corbett’s budget proposes a 4% reduction (about $26.9 million) in fee-for-service rates to general acute care, psychiatric and rehabilitation hospitals. Other proposed cuts will impact supplemental Medicaid payments to hospitals who offers certain types of care – trauma, burn obstetric and neonatal services.
These types of care are of vital importance to local communities and expensive to maintain. Cuts mean lower income Pennsylvanians will have difficulty accessing these types of services. Combined with federal cuts to Medicare, these possible state funding cuts could put a very serious strain on our hospitals, impacting patient care as well as our jobs. Download the hospital budget leaflet here.
Corbett’s budget calls for a 4 percent cut in the Medicaid payments for nursing homes, a total projected loss of $100 million, which will have a ripple effect on hospitals and home care as well. This reduction would be in addition to a series of Medicaid reductions in recent years – in 2010, nursing homes lost about $5,500 a year on each Medicaid patient.
Compounding the problem, nursing homes lost nearly $300 million in federal Medicare funding in October and then the failure of the debt “supercommittee” to reach an agreement triggered $500 million more in cuts. For our county nursing homes that rely overwhelmingly on Medicaid funding, additional cuts could affect thousands of our state’s most vulnerable citizens as well as our jobs. Download the nursing home budget leaflet here..
- Department of Military and Veterans Affairs: Corbett proposed cutting funding for veterans’ homes by $6.2 million, a 6.7 percent cut and reducing 67 staff positions in veterans’ homes.
- Department of Public Welfare: Funding for the DPW, which oversees a wide variety of services including Behavioral Health, Mental Health and County Child Welfare, has been restructured into a single ‘block grant,’ which could lose 20% of its budget this year.
- Department of Corrections: In September, Corbett requested bids to outsource DOC healthcare services. This could jeopardize the safety of our nurses and their fellow employees, compromise public health and cost our state 800 jobs, 350 of which belong to our union members.
- Department of Health: Not only is the DOH facing a 4.6% cut in its budget, it could also be merged with the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, an independent state agency charged with reducing medical errors. This could compromise patient safety.
$840 million in cuts to school districts statewide remain and basic education could face $78 million in cuts. Funding to the state system of higher education, which supports 14 state universities, is slashed by 20% at the same time reducing financial aid by almost $30 million.
While Pennsylvania is facing a $4 billion deficit, Corbett approved a $833 million tax cut for profitable corporations. Combined with his allowing big companies to avoid paying their fair share through the Delaware Tax Loophole, Corbett’s is choosing to balance his budget on the back of struggling Pennsylvanians. This is wrong.