The Edwards Administration is very concerned about state funding for healthcare, as the full House is set to debate the proposed spending plan for next fiscal year. Department of Health and Hospitals Sec. Rebekah Gee says the House budget committee shifted dollars away from DHH and this could lead to multiple hospital closures and would eliminate jobs that inspect potentially unsafe facilities.

“And from a budget standpoint, what this will do because of the lawsuits and the federal dollars we’ll lose, is that it will cost us over a billion dollars to make these changes, so frankly this budget makes no sense.”

Gee says the budget proposal approved by the House Appropriations Committee will also lead to major cuts to multiple waiver programs, including those that keep patients out of nursing homes and developmentally disabled children in their homes. She says DHH has over 230 million dollars in unmet needs.

“So this is just really draconian and frankly seems like it was done arbitrarily and without an understanding of the impact.”

House Appropriates Chairman Cameron Henry defended the reallocating of the dollars during a discussion of the proposed budget.

“The governor’s priority was DHH while higher education was last among his priorities. We just balanced it out a little bit more.”