Hundreds of health care workers braved windswept rain outside the Statehouse recently to protest nearly $200 million in proposed cuts to hospitals and nursing homes. Many wore surgical masks that read, “These cuts make me sick.” Most of the hospital cuts proposed in Gov. Jon Corzine’s budget would come from money the state provides to defray the cost of treating patients without health insurance, called “charity care.” “The proposed $147 million in charity care cuts will hurt our patients, our staff and our state,” said MaryAnne Marra, chief executive officer of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark. “The poor, the underinsured and the uninsured will take the hit.” Corzine is proposing a 14 percent reduction in state funds for hospitals, which would curtail total aid to $902 million. His budget, which must be adopted by June 30, would slash total state spending $500 million, to $33 billion. Hospital executives have said that rather than reducing state support, Corzine should increase it, since they provide about $1.3 billion in free care to the poor annually. Twenty-two hospitals have closed in New Jersey since 1992, including six in the past 18 months. Source: Newark Star-Ledger (May 13, 2008 Edition) Full story: Star-Ledger May 13, 2008