by Doug Paterson, Director of State Policy, Michigan Primary Care Association
On Wednesday, September 8, Governor Granholm, House Speaker Andy Dillon, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop signed a target agreement for an $8.3 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 General Fund budget.
The six-page agreement includes $60 million in savings from a state employee retirement reform, and shifting $208 million from the School Aid Fund. It also includes $878,000 for reapportionment costs, a $101.8 million fund source shift of tobacco settlement revenue to Medicaid, five liquor reforms that add up to more than $9 million, $61.8 million for tax amnesty, $168 million for unclaimed property reforms, and $377.3 million from a use tax on health maintenance organizations.
The agreement calls for no new sources of revenue; therefore, after the adjustments listed above have been made, the remaining budget hole of over $400 million will have to be filled through cuts.
The budget for the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is targeted for a cut of $54 million below the Governor’s recommended budget level. Since the Governor’s budget DID NOT include restoration of the Medicaid adult dental benefit, securing restoration will be an uphill battle for certain. If Medicaid adult dental is to be restored, another $5 million (beyond the $54 million) would have to be cut somewhere else. Although both budgets previously passed by each MDCH budget subcommittee did include restoration of the benefit, it will be difficult for the conference committee to maintain that restoration given lower targets.
The legislature is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday, September 14. All remaining budget work must be done over the next three weeks to meet the October 1 deadline.
Please call your State Representative and Senator next week and ask them to support restoration of the Medicaid Adult dental benefit. Also ask them to encourage their colleagues on the conference committee to maintain the restoration. The House conference committee members are Representatives Gary McDowell, Kevin Green, and George Cushingberry. The Senate conference committee members are Senators Roger Kahn, John Pappageorge, and Deb Cherry.