When Governor Malloy proposed this year’s budget, the General Assembly passed it, and the Governor signed it into law, it was widely understood that the Malloy Administration had purposely underestimated the true costs of funding various programs, especially within the Department of Social Services.
Almost immediately, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo started warning the Malloy Administration that spending on social services would exceed what was authorized in the state budget.
Eventually, Ben Barnes, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, admitted that the state might spend as much as $100 million more than authorized on these programs.
When the truth finally came out last week, the projected spending level is at least $191 million more than budgeted, although the federal government will reimburse the state for 50 percent of that amount.
This week, details about the $191 million in excess Medicaid spending were finally provided. The overspending includes;
$62.5 million in Acute Care Services (hospitalization)
$46.1 million in Professional Medical Care (doctors)
$25.9 million in Other Medical Services (lab work, treatment, medical supplies and equipment)
$13.0 million in Home and Community Based Services
$39.6 million in Nursing Home Facilities
$2.8 million in other Long Term Care
$1.0 million in Administration and Adjustments
In addition to the “optimistic assumptions,” there has been an increase in caseload, although the Malloy Administration’s attempt to blame the problem on increasing caseload is more than a bit disingenuous.
According to estimates from the independent Office of Fiscal Analysis, the number of Low Income Adults seeking services has grown by about 4,000 clients since the beginning of the fiscal year in July, a 5.0% increase. These additional clients represent an additional cost to the state of about $30.0 million.
In addition, the Malloy Administration had proposed a number of initiatives to reduce spending on Medicaid this year, most of which have yet to be implemented.
As part of Governor Malloy’s $132 million in cuts that he proposed yesterday, the Department of Social Services was hit for about $32 million. These cuts will force significant reductions in a variety of vital services starting in December and January.
Some of the more significant program cuts include the following;
Children’s Trust Fund $657,000
Husky B Insurance Program $1.5 million
Old Age Assistance $1.5 million
Aid to the Disabled $964,000
Temporary Assistance to Family (TANF) $5.3 million
Connecticut Home Care Program $2.3 million
Child Care Services (which is the child care subsidy for low-income WORKING PARENTS) $2.3 million *
*So, the cut could actually cost the state money if parents are forced to quit to take care of children
Housing/Homeless Services $2.9 million
Furthermore, the largest cut to the Department of Social Services is being made to the grant program to Connecticut hospitals to help them cover their uncompensated care. Malloy’s cut to these hospitals is for $13.4 million, which will certainly lead to health insurance premiums going up as hospitals try to stay in business by shifting even more costs to self-pay patients and those who are insured.