MEDPAC Minute – House Restores Some Cuts

This week has been a rollercoaster of funding cuts and funding restorations as the House has sought to pass their budget proposal.  After making significant cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services budget last week, the Appropriation Subcommittee on HHS was able to restore approximately $300 million dollars in appropriations gained from a new revenue package.  The revenue package, passed in Finance late on Wednesday, includes a myriad of revenue increases.  Those proposals include two new tax brackets for those making over $200,000 annually, an increase of a quarter cent on sales tax, a host of entertainment taxes and a number of other taxes on businesses.

Highlights of restorations related to DHHS include:

Reducing the Provider Rate Cut to 3.06% in year 1 and 3.56% in year 2

Eliminating the Copayment for non-emergent visits to the Emergency Department

Eliminating the Provider Enrollment Fee

Restoration of Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapies

Restoration of Oral Health Care

Restoration of a significant portion of the Mental Health cuts

These restorations are due in large part to the significant noise created by NCMS physicians and physician assistants in partnership with hospitals, medical group managers and the powerful voices of a few Medicaid patients.   While the process is far from completion, this is a significant improvement over the proposals discussed during the last two weeks.  Once the House completes the amendment and voting process on Saturday morning, S202 – Appropriations Act of 2009 (Garrou D-Forsyth) will go to a conference committee to work out differences between the Senate and the House versions of the bill.  This process will likely take a couple of weeks. 


Share this Post