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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Senate budget contains $2.7 billion in cuts for the Department of Social and Health Services, the primary agency responsible for health care and economic security programs in the state. These cuts are partially replaced by new federal funding. However, the Senate proposal cuts too deeply, resulting in a budget that does not fully take advantage of federal funds.

In order to keep from losing available federal recovery funds, the state must avoid deep cuts such as these by raising new revenue.

Federal increases
Of the $2.7 billion in cuts, only 63 percent is offset by increases in federal funding. This includes an increase in the federal government's share of Medicaid spending, a boost in food assistance funding, and money available to pay for caseload increases in TANF.

Lost federal money
Federal recovery funds are contingent on continued state investments in these areas. Fully 25 percent of the cuts in DSHS are associated with loss of federal money. Many of these cuts are in the Medicaid program. Some examples:
  • A $33 million cut in reimbursements for providers of Medicaid and SCHIP managed care services will result in a loss of $44 million in federal money, more than doubling the total size of the cut.
  • A $46 million cut in reimbursements for inpatient hospital stays results in a loss of $61 million in federal money.
  • A $38 million cut in nursing home rates results in a loss of $56 million in federal funds.
  • A $18 million cut in reimbursements for pediatric services results in a $25 million loss in federal funds.
Other cuts not replaced by federal funding
Aside from those mentioned above, there are $311 million cuts in funding for health care and economic security programs that will not be replaced by federal dollars and are therefore real cuts that affect the health and economic security of Washingtonians. The largest include severe restrictions on GA-U eligibility and reductions in mental health services.*

* A $69 million cut in TANF is listed in the LEAP documents as not having a direct federal impact. However, this may not fully account for limitations on federal TANF money. We'll update this as we find out more.


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