With demand for safety net programs growing, the legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Thursday proposed increasing funding to state’s social services by $444 million. They also proposed a new hospital tax on providers to bring in $206.8 million for the coming year, which begins July 1.

State Medicaid spending increases $67.8 million, but does cut $2.3 million for vision coverage. The committee rejected Gov. M. Jodi Rell‘s proposed co-payments for Medicaid and Husky B insurance for children, a move Rell estimated would bring in $11.1 million the coming year.

Also, the Appropriations Committee restored $1.8 million in funding for interpreters for non-English speaking Medicaid patients and $5.9 million for non-emergency patient transportation. The 2-1-1 phone line Husky patients call to get their questions answered or to apply through also was saved from being turned off as the Rell’s budget proposed.

Also proposed is a reimbursement rate increase for the state-run welfare programs for adults – SAGA – to match Medicaid funding levels. Rell had originally estimated delaying the increase would save the state $91 million in the coming year, but the Appropriations committee estimates all of that would now be reimbursed by the federal government since national health care reform is law.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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