We’re deeply disappointed in the FY18 Budget released earlier this week by the Trump Administration, as it negates substantial progress made in improving the health of our most vulnerable citizens, and undermines important efforts our state is currently making with regard to a variety of issues that impact the health and well-being of our communities.
President Trump’s budget calls for significant cuts to Medicaid, and would downshift costs to New Hampshire through the imposition of Medicaid block grants. Block grants will only exacerbate the problems we currently face with the Medicaid program that already underfunds the cost of providing care to these patients and would jeopardize New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program. Further, the proposed budget cuts funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, debstalizing the progress made to combat the opioid epidemic here in New Hampshire to provide support and access to treatment for those struggling with mental health or substance misuse issues.
Lastly, given the rural populations in our state and the communities we serve, New Hampshire hospitals are extremely disappointed that the FY18 budget cuts funding for programs that help us address the challenge we are currently facing with regard to workforce and physician shortages in our rural communities. In addition, it calls for further reductions in funding for other rural health programs, such as telehealth ($17M in FY17 to $10M in FY18) and the elimination of funding for Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants, which provide support for a wide range of activities focusing on critical access hospitals.
Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association