Services Press Conference
December 17, 2003
week I laid before the people of Kentucky the dramatic impacts that potential
budget cuts would have on education in the Commonwealth.
That was 60% of our budget. Now,
we must turn our attention to human services – nearly 20% of our general fund
budget - and the dire impact potential cuts will have in that arena.
It’s difficult to measure what constitutes quality of life but we know
it includes good jobs, good schools, thriving communities, nurturing homes and
good health. Many Kentuckians suffer from ill health or mental health
and mental retardation. Many cannot afford medical services or prescription
of our children suffer from physical or sexual abuse and our families experience
domestic violence that disrupts their everyday lives. Our state funds assist the aged, the blind, the victims of
rape, people suffering from mental illness and retardation, people on fixed
incomes, children who are victims of child abuse, and many others.
When the economy suffers, our most vulnerable citizens bear the brunt of
We’re not making any judgments about who or what potentially might be cut. This is an analysis of what a potential 2.6% and 5.2% across the board cut would mean to Human Services agencies in Kentucky.
we focus on the Cabinet for Health Services and the Cabinet for Families and
Children where cuts would affect thousands of Kentucky’s most vulnerable –
many of them, working poor. The
number of Kentuckians served by these agencies is staggering:
fiscal ’01 our Comprehensive Care Centers served 101,380 people for mental
health services. That number included 25,764 adults with severe mental illness
and 10,287 children with severe emotional disabilities
that same time period, these centers served 21,300 people with substance abuse
fiscal ’01 our Rape Crisis Centers served 8,549 rape victims.
both fiscal ’01 and ’02, Homecare provided community services to 10,400
persons 65 and older to enable them to remain in their homes.
We have already expanded the program this year by 800 people, with more
scheduled to be added to the list.
public health facilities immunized 46,214 kindergarten children; provided
maternity services to over 54,000 women; performed over 822,000 lab tests and
provided family planning counseling to more than 120,000 people.
any given month, there are over 600,000 Kentuckians eligible for Medicaid
violence centers serve nearly 24,000 people a year and over 4,000 children
receive help from our child advocacy centers
of the recipients of these services are our neighbors and friends, our
children’s friends, people we work with every day who without our help would
face hardships most of us cannot comprehend.
And sadly, many others are people we pass by on the street and simply
choose to ignore.
Cabinet for Health Services has already absorbed $43.8 million in cuts in FY
’01 and ’02. They have handled
these through administrative cuts – not cuts in services.
The Cabinet for Families and Children has been cut 5% or approximately
$21 million in general funds during the same time period.
addition to the loss of services, cuts in these budgets affect the economy of
every county in the Commonwealth because over 90% of the funds spent by these
two cabinets goes directly into communities across the Commonwealth.
of course, there’s the on-going Medicaid crisis.
We are anticipating 12% annual growth in future costs of the Medicaid
program, as it now exists. In
fiscal year 2000, Kentucky ranked number one among the southeastern region and
our neighboring states in the percentage of state budget dollars spent on
Medicaid. The Medicaid Steering
Committee has done an outstanding job balancing the budget through good
management, but we are now estimating that our projected Medicaid deficit for
fiscal ’04 - $216 million –could in reality be $450 million.
you can see, there are serious concerns for the delivery of human services in
Kentucky. I’ve asked Secretary
Morgan from the Cabinet for Health Services and Secretary Miller from the
Cabinet for Families and Children to share with you more specifically what
potential budget reductions would mean to their agencies.
Secretary Morgan and representatives of local agencies served by her
cabinet will provide some of the details of the impact any cuts in the budget
would have on health services. Secretary
(Sec. Morgan speaks)
Miller will speak to the potential impacts to Kentucky’s families and
children, and she has with her local administrators who will put a personal face
on these potential reductions. Secretary
(Sec. Miller speaks)
you can see, there are consequences to these actions that cut across the entire
spectrum of state services. The
people affected by these programs do not simply go away but rather, they present
themselves elsewhere in the system.
burden is merely shifted - and the public pays for these services in one way or
another, and at a greater cost in the long run.
The consequences will be seen in education and in the criminal justice
persons who are struggling and at-risk now may join the ranks of the homeless
simply because we cannot afford to continue to provide the services they so
desperately need. In many ways,
Kentucky state government is in crisis.
of the cuts which would have to be made to live with current revenue will
actually show up as a lower quality of life four our people years and perhaps
decades from now. But cuts in Human Services will show up immediately!
should be no misunderstanding about the effect of a 5.2 percent cut in our
commitment to provide Human Services to the most vulnerable Kentuckians. It
would cause serious and immediate harm to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.