Budget Update #2

February 18, 2018

Update # 1 was after the House had reported out and sent with little analysis; this Update has links (which work!) to both reports and some analysis!  Let me start by saying that if you had asked me at the beginning of the Session whether Medicaid Expansion was a realistic option and where would the stronger statement in support come from (House or Senate), I would have said maybe to the first and the Senate to the second. I would have been wrong! Expansion now seems very possible and the House of Delegates is driving the initiative.  What has made this possible is the fairly dramatic shift in the politics of the House following last Fall’s election and the recently added option of imposing a work requirement for “able-bodied adults” which allows the more conservative members to accept expansion without violating their principles! The Senate, on the other hand, included a very stripped down version of expansion (essentially changing the eligibility criterion for the GAP program) and called it an aspiration!  Of course, as the Senate did not include Expansion in it’s version of the budget (and the Governor’s introduced budget did), the Senate had to strip more than $400Million from the introduced budget! There are many nuances in both Reports and details yet to discover when the “half-sheets” come out on Tuesday.  Several items on our agenda we can report:
  • The request for an increase in rates for Outpatient Services is not in either report;
  • The technical correction to exempt respite care provided in group homes, sponsored residential homes or other licensed sites was included in both reports; and
  • The slots which were in the Governor’s budget are still there in both reports and do not include any BI Waiver slots.
Senate Finance Committee Report House Appropriations Committee Report