Senate rolls back Medicaid cuts in first health care budget offer

MEDICAID - Glowing Neon Sign on stonework wall
The House and Senate also differ on priority health care legislation from Speaker Chris Sprowls.

The Senate’s latest health care budget offer rolls back previously proposed Medicaid cuts.

The Senate’s original proposed budget included over $250 million in cuts to Medicaid inpatient and outpatient rates. The plan also cut $77 million worth of funds for hospitals that serve a lot of Medicaid patients.

But the Senate has walked back many of those provisions in its first budget offer to the House unveiled Saturday night at a budget conference meeting.

“My understanding is we’re fully funded,” Sen. Aaron Bean, who chairs the health care budget conference for the Senate, said referring to the state’s Medicaid needs.

But that is not the case for the House health care budget. There are still $226 million in critical care cuts and $80 million in cuts to nursing home rate reduction in the House proposal.

“We’ll land on something we can agree on, but it’s still being talked about right now,” Rep Clay Yarborough, who chairs the health care budget conference for the House.

The House and Senate also differ on priority health care legislation from Speaker Chris Sprowls to extend Medicaid for mothers one year after they give birth to their baby.

The proposal was unveiled at a press conference in March.

“It’s a priority of the House. We wanted to make a good faith effort, so we went from zero to six,” Bean said.

The state would need to commit about $92 million to fund the proposal as Sprowls originally intended.

A “technical issue” shows the House and the Senate Medicaid services budgets $900 million dollars apart, but updated Medicaid costs in the House’s next offer will likely help close that gap.

The House budget proposal is based on estimated Medicaid costs from December. The Senate proposal uses updated Medicaid costs from the end of March. The difference shows Medicare costs for the state are increasing.

“Those numbers were really not negotiated. We just accept them because there are people that make that thing so we automatically did that, I think we have over 900,000 new people on Medicaid and that number goes up every day,” Bean said.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected]


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