Governor Granholm Still Waiting for Budget Bills

by Doug Paterson, MPA, Director of State Policy, Michigan Primary Care Association

As reported last week, the state legislature finally passed the School Aid bill (K-12) and sent it to Governor Granholm.  As of today, she has still not signed it.  It is expected that she will sign it soon as it has significant impact on payments to schools that are slated to go out October 20.  

There are still six budgets that have not yet been sent to the Governor and are being held up on a procedural vote in the Senate.  Senator Bishop had indicated earlier in the week that he did not want to send budgets over that the Governor would veto.  However, after meeting with the Governor on Wednesday, he stated that he expected those budgets will be sent to her next Tuesday. 

The six budgets include those for the departments of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth; Human Services; State Police; Community Health; General Government; and Higher Education.  Each of these contains the most controversial cuts in the plan devised by Senator Bishop and Speaker Dillon and are the ones that the Governor has most opposed as part of the “Bishop-Dillon agreement”, which cuts $1.279 billion in spending.

On a related matter, one of the bills that passed the Michigan House the week before last was one to impose a “quality assurance assessment” on all physician services.  It is intended that this “revenue bill” not only mitigate the 8% provider cut rates, but would actually increase Medicaid rates above those in place currently.  It is also intended to restore the optional Medicaid adult benefits including dental services.  This bill (HB 5386) would impose a 3% “assessment” on gross revenue of any physician or entity related to a physician, and is expected to generate around $300 million in revenue that could then be matched for an additional $822 million in federal revenue.  

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Health is scheduled to hear testimony on Tuesday October 20 to consider this bill.   It is unclear what testimony might be taken and it is very unlikely that there will be a vote of the committee at the meeting.

As always, stay tuned!

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