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RI governor seeks $4M cut for hospitals

Associated Press, December 22, 2009

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri has proposed cutting millions of dollars meant to reimburse hospitals for providing healthcare to the poor during a recession that has cost thousands of Rhode Island residents their jobs and employer-provided health insurance. The latest budget proposal from the Republican governor would eliminate $3.7 million in funding to four hospitals—South County, Miriam, Westerly, and Kent Hospital—that have seen an increasing number of patients who have health insurance, but cannot afford to make copayments or pay deductibles of $1,000 or more required under their insurance plans. Carcieri included the cut as part of a package intended to close a $220 million budget deficit for the fiscal year ending in June, a shortfall equivalent to about 7% of what the state expected to take in. With unemployment hovering around 13%, that budget shortfall could grow larger as people lose jobs and cut back on spending, which drives down state tax collections.