Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas told lawmakers he will make up most of the $58 million hole in his budget through $45 million in cuts and savings, including trims for community health centers and family planning programs.
But the issue rankling lawmakers the most is $7 million of payment cuts to nursing homes.
Toumpas told the legislature’s fiscal committee those cuts were a tough call.
“I just had not a whole lot of options, in terms of what we needed to do.”
But that explanation didn’t satisfy Senate President Chuck Morse, who argued they flout the intent of the legislature.
“I think the next thing is to ask the Attorney General to come in and explain to us how we violate what the legislature said we were going to do.”
Toumpas does not need legislative approval to make the budget changes, which Governor Hassan called “tough but necessary.’’
Much of the HHS budget hole is caused by increased spending on Medicaid, mostly driven by changes in federal eligibility.
The state’s delays in implementing Medicaid managed care have added to the problem.