Monday, May 11, 2009

Healthy spending plan

It looks like the Council is going to throw another $500,000 at the Healthy Howard Access Plan, despite the fact that the plan is flush with cash and has only enrolled somewhere around 300 people. Greg Fox, and to a lesser extent Courtney Watson, seem to be the only ones questioning the sanity of giving more money to HHAP:

"A lot of the budgeting was done off [projections] of 2,200 people, and we're not there," Fox said. "With all the other money that was supposed to have been raised and the lack of participation so far, could we reduce county funding to $250,000 or $175,000?" he asked.

A $500,000 grant from the Horizon Foundation also remains virtually unspent, questions revealed.

But Beilenson and other program officials explained that Healthy Howard Inc. is a start-up program, and that pools of money must be held in reserve in case enrollees incur unexpectedly heavy medical expenses or are diagnosed with serious illnesses.

Watson also asked sharp questions about budgeting and the rate of return for spending.

"It doesn't make sense to me that you need that $500,000 and an additional $500,000 when the program is not where you thought it would be," she said at one point.