Federal and State Funding Cuts Put Health Programs At Risk

The future of 68 mental health program facilities and other programs at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is at stake given 2% across-the-board state budget cuts and declining federal support.  The funding cuts were discussed at Department’s Senate Budget and Tax Committee Briefing and reported in the Maryland Reporter:

Right now, the health department is receiving feedback from several counties to determine what effect projected reductions will have.

“So yes, is the answer to your question,” said Dr. Laura Herrera, deputy secretary of public health. “And there are implications to programs and the cutting of those programs at the local level. I think that with the last few years and the decline in core funding, the counties have generously overmatched the core funds, but that seems to be going away.”

DHMH is looking at an estimated $7 million in projected cuts to mental health funding, adding to that is looming decrease of federal funding, as funding for the expansion of health care under the Affordable Care Act begins to become the responsibility of the state.

According to DHMH, since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), full Medicaid benefits have been given to an additional 100,000 people at the start, equaling $200 million infederal funds. Now enrollment has grown to 1.3 million people included in the full Medicaid benefits. The full cost has been covered by federal funding, but in fiscal year 2017 the federal funding will drop to 95%, and then by 1% every following year.

Dr. Herrera has been working with health departments over the last two years to figure how to diversify the way the public health department funds itself. “Because not only are we seeing declines in our state general funds, but we’re certainly seeing declines in our categorical federal funds.”

For more information read the full article in the Maryland Reporter.