What North Carolina’s New State Budget Means for Health and Human Services
Ensuring that all North Carolinians have the opportunity to be healthy and safe is a cornerstone of our society. The health and human services budget touches the lives of virtually every North Carolinian from birth to old age and makes sure our food is safe, our children thrive early, seniors have access to prescription drugs, and people with disabilities have the supports they need to contribute to our communities.
This year, legislators in Raleigh voted to cut close to $500 million from our annual health and human services budget, which will have serious impacts on the health and well-being of our children, our seniors, and our communities.
Total Reduction to the Health & Human Services Budget: 26 percent or $480 million in FY12; $467 million in FY13.
What It Means For Early Childhood Education:
- Young children under age 5 will have fewer opportunities for high-quality early childhood education that is essential for putting them on the path to success in K-12 schools and later in life, because of cuts to Smart Start, our nationally-recognized early childhood program.
- Parents will have a harder time staying in the workforce and supporting their families and local economies as early childhood slots and transportation funding are sharply reduced.
- Decreased access to early childhood education opportunities will have ripple effects on local economies as child care providers lose their jobs due to the cuts.
What is Means for People with disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse challenges: With cuts to community services of $20 million, people who need mental health services will likely have fewer places to go for them and the quality of services could be compromised.
What It Means for People who receive Medicaid and their health care providers:
The budget cuts funding for Medicaid by $356 million in FY12 and $407 million in FY13. The massive cuts were done with some smoke and mirrors accounting and the full impacts of these cuts remains to be seen.
- Patients’ access to quality medical care will be no doubt limited by unrealized savings.
- Vision care under Medicaid (i.e. glasses) is eliminated.
- Medicaid services that are called “optional” such as dental treatment, hospice care, artificial limbs, and group homes for people with mental disabilities could also be terminated.
This was a choice: By maintaining the temporary tax package, which included the penny sales tax increase and a surcharge on high-income households and companies, or by including long-term revenue solutions in their budget, all of these cuts to education could have been avoided.