NJ For Change

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Jersey May Cut Medicaid Budget

I wonder if my new “best friend” DBK will outraged to learn Senator Wayne Bryant is looking to cut New Jersey’s Medicaid budget?

Our state currently spends a total of $9 billion on Medicaid, half paid by the federal government and half by the state. Of the $4.5 billion New Jersey spends, $1.5 billion is spent on optional services.
Medicaid cuts could be on the table as state lawmakers try to close a budget gap in the coming months.

Some optional programs currently included in New Jersey's Medicaid coverage may be worth examining for savings, Sen. Wayne Bryant, D-Lawnside, the chairman of the Senate budget committee said after a hearing Tuesday. He stressed he is just seeking information at this point.

"If you're going to try to make a budget work, you have to look at all of them," Bryant said as his committee began work on tackling a budget deficit that could exceed $4 billion. "We're probably going to keep most of the optional services, I believe that, but there might be some that we say we can either do in a different way, or we just can't afford to do it."
Bryant is also going to be taking a closer look at some of the other sacred cows in the state’s budget for possible cost savings and reductions.

The look at Medicaid was the first in what Bryant indicated could be several examinations of the largest, and often most sensitive, parts of the state budget. Spending on education and higher education could also come under the microscope.
If our elected officials actually follow through and make cuts, that would be the attitude change I’m looking for to turn New Jersey around.

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