Despite early enthusiasm, lawmakers now say a bill extending state-sponsored health coverage to about 18,000 undocumented children is unlikely to succeed this year.
It is a time of reckoning for Connecticut’s private, nonprofit social services. After two decades of flat or reduced funding from its chief client — state government — community-based agencies are struggling to retain both their programs and the low-paid staff who deliver care for thousands of poor, disabled and mentally-ill adults and children.
or the fifth time in four years, Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered rescissions to vital health and human services on top of flat funding for seven years. The cuts ordered last week are the most draconian and will have a brutal impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in our state.
Everyone is familiar with the definition of a monopoly. But who has heard of a monopsony? A monopsony is where there is a single purchaser of a service from a pool of many sellers. The State of Connecticut’s purchase of service contracting system, particularly its purchase of human service related programs, is a monopsony. It means the state (the sole purchaser) can set limits on how much it will pay nonprofits (the sellers) for a service. In a monopsony environment, the state basically runs a “take it or leave it” business model. It matters little to the state how much providing that service actually costs.
An early analysis suggests that the assumptions behind a $15.2 million cut to mental health and substance abuse treatment services in this year’s budget aren’t being realized and could leave some service providers with significantly less funding than lawmakers intended.
While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has touted a proposal to increase spending on mental health services, agencies that run mental health and substance abuse clinics are bracing for more than $10 million in cuts to state grants starting July 1. And they say the cut could mean treating fewer people.
“I’ve had legislators say to me, ‘Pat, every year you come to me and you tell me how difficult it is, but you’re still in business,'” said Patrick J. Johnson, president of Oak Hill, which serves people with disabilities. “And I think as long as we continue to provide the services on the backs of our employees, because that’s how we’re doing it, then the world goes on.”