Gordon called earlier this year for all of the state’s agencies, including the University of Wyoming and the community colleges, to prepare budgets that cut 10%. He also instructed them to prepare another set of numbers that would account for a 20% cut. He acknowledged the depth of the cuts facing the Health Department during Wednesday’s press conference.
“For the Department of Health, these cuts mean direct impact services to low-income residents, seniors, and those with developmental disabilities,” he said. “It means the programs that assist seniors with at home care will no longer be funded, (nor will) vaccination programs for some children. It means we’ll be reducing funding for early childhood developmental and educational programs. These are just a few examples.”
In a news release Wednesday afternoon, the department wrote that between state and federal losses, the cut is actually closer to $138 million. But the agency is tapping one-time funds to alleviate that hurt — for now.
“We wish we did not have to take these actions,” the department’s director, Michael Ceballos, said in a statement. “It’s tough to announce these budget reductions, but with the obvious decline in state revenues, the need to reduce our budget simply can’t be ignored.”
Meeting that need for reductions is going to hurt. The state will cut its $628 million Medicaid program by $46.5 million. That climbs to a $95.5 million cut when factoring in lost federal matches. A program that gives vaccines to private providers for immunizing children will be eliminated, to save $3.5 million. That process will now be handled by insurance companies. Developmental preschools will lose $8.8 million.