Legislative Update: A Look at Budget Cuts Affecting Health Care

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services released their proposed budget this week that includes more than $527,000,000 in reductions to the department’s funding. Health and Human Services (HHS) cuts account for an overall reduction of about 10%, after weeks of joint appropriations meetings. This is significantly better than the cuts approaching 30% for HHS in the past budget cycle. Today we offer a preview of some of the budget reductions while the NCMS continues to evaluate the proposed budget to determine how each of these 76 line item reductions will affect both patients and providers in North Carolina. 

The House chose to propose a 2% cut across-the-board to all Medicaid providers, but physicians have been exempted from this cut. This as well as deeper cuts have been avoided due to the savings achieved through the Community Care of North Carolina program, along with additional cuts taken on by hospitals. The NCMS is very appreciative of the strong partnership being exhibited by the NC Hospital Association (NCHA) during this significant budget crisis. 

The HHS Appropriations subcommittee is expected to debate the proposed cuts early next week. The House could consider the full budget as early as the later part of next week. Once the House completes their proposal, the budget proposal will be passed to the Senate for consideration. That process has been on-track to be completed by June 1, 2011 according to both House and Senate leadership. 

In a bold move this week, the House and Senate passed a bill along party lines that would protect against a blanket veto of the budget by Gov. Perdue. The bill proposes to hold spending at 87% of the current fiscal year spending in the event of a veto by the Governor. The bill is expected to be sent to the Governor after an unusual session of the chambers to be held on Saturday morning. House and Senate leaders expect the bill to be signed by Gov. Perdue because it also includes authority for unemployment benefits to continue that would otherwise stop on Saturday.

Legislation continues to move at a hectic pace as the General Assembly approaches the crossover deadline on May 12th. Here are a few of the bills that move this week that the NCMS is tracking.  A complete rundown on the current tort reform bills can be found in today’s article by Steve Keene.

Legislation to Watch:


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