Despite recent news of an improving economy, two reports find that states are still struggling with their budgets, raising the possibility of further cuts in Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. In 2003 states reported a combined shortfall of $70 billion, forcing many to reduce Medicaid benefits, eligibility or outreach, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Missouri, for example, dropped 32,000 people from its Medicaid rolls when it changed eligibility rules and Colorado cut coverage for 3,500 legal immigrants, the report said. The federal government in June 2003 provided $20 billion in temporary funding to states. The funding helped avert additional cuts in public health programs, but with its end in June, states may find themselves in crisis again, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured said in a news release. Its full report will be released tomorrow. Read the Robert Wood Johnson report . -- by Tony Fong
2004 may be another crisis year for state budgets
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