After imposing $176 million worth of budget cuts on state government, Gov. William Donald Schaefer now wants agencies to make another $34 million worth of reductions, including 1,800 staff layoffs. These are moves that clearly make the governor wince, especially when the impact of these cuts becomes clear.
Take, for instance, the decision to discontinue the Kidney Disease Program. This model program enables the working poor to receive their kidney dialysis treatments to cleanse their kidneys of impurities. The state has been picking up the difference between federal payments and the cost of treatment. It averages at least $75 a week for these 3,000 dialysis patients.
Somehow, these people have to find ways to continue their medical treatment. Otherwise, they face the prospect of frequent hospital stays and ultimately death. One way is to qualify for Medicaid -- but that would mean forcing working people into poverty and off the employment rolls.