$1.2 Billion in Cuts Accepted

Speaker of the House, Andy Dillon (D-Redford), has reached an agreement with Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) to accept the $1.2 Billion in cuts the Senate has already passed in an attempt to finalize a state budget next week.  Individual subcommittees were given targets very close to the Senate passed versions and negotiations about how to structure the cuts are ongoing with the "deadline" of 5 pm next Tuesday, September 22 with the goal of moving budgets on the floor of the House on Wednesday and Thursday next week. While we normally would focus on House subcommittee members at this point as detailed in last week’s Friday Notes, the agreement to cut so drastically leaves us with a more urgent message to House members to reject the budgets on the House floor.
It is TIME TO ACT!  We need YOU, your advocates, your colleagues, and ANYONE who will be affected by these cuts to contact the their state Representative and tell them to reject developing budgets that include such dramatic cuts.  You can find contact information for all House members at: http://house.mi.gov/replist.asp
It is also never too late to contact the "leadership" that have made this dangerous agreement and share your thoughts as well.

Majority Leader Mike Bishop –  (517) 373-2417
Speaker of the House Andy Dillon – (888) 737-3455
Senate Appropriations Chair Ron Jelinek:  1-866-305-2121
House Appropriations Chair George Cushingberry:  1-888-347-8008
The main message should be as follows:
"I urge you to reject the budget targets agreed to by Speaker Dillon.  The cuts are unacceptable and will have devastating impacts on services to many vulnerable populations.  If these cuts are allowed to pass, it will immediately impact the lives of many of your constituents and the long-term impacts will be felt for many years to come."
If given the opportunity, you should also highlight how the cuts will impact you/your program and the people you serve directly.  Use personal examples and worst-case scenarios.  In addition to the talking points in last week’s Friday Notes, here is a list to get you started:

* Raising the Children’s Special Health Care Services payment agreement revenue by $2.2M will make this coverage unaffordable for families of seriously ill children.
* Medicaid provider rate reductions will impact the ability to find providers for specialty care for thousands of both adults and children.
* More than 32,000 low income, uninsured people will lose access to contraceptive services which will result in more unintended pregnancies and births financed by Medicaid.
* More than 500 low income, first time moms and their infants will lose the support of a proven successful intervention (Nurse Family Partnership)  that improves the survival rates and life outcomes for these families.
* Hundreds of women/families with a history of infant mortality will not receive services to help prevent their next pregnancy or infant loss.
* 300 children each year who are poisoned by lead will receive no support to identify and eliminate the lead source.
* Thousands of children of migrant workers will lose access to health assessments and immunizations. This will greatly expand the risk of serious illness and health problems for the children, their families, and their communities.
* Cutting services will eliminate home visits to over 3,000 at-risk children annually.  These visits enable parents to understand and support their young child’s development and behavior which we know ultimately results in less abuse, neglect, and family violence.
* Closure of the 70 school-based and school-linked health centers, will not only leave these 100,000 children without a health care provider, it will result in the loss of over $10 million in Federal Medicaid Match funds.
We must add our voice to those of other advocacy organizations to stop this budget that we know will have long-term consequences on the health and safety of pregnant women and children. Please feel free to e-mail me at azaagman@mcmch.org for more information or to update me on the outcome of your communications. THANK YOU!