State House, Senate Subcommittees Approve MDCH Budget Bills

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

It was a busy week in the 2011-2012 State budget development process.  Unlike other years, the Senate and House have been meeting concurrently and working on all budgets, rather than each house working on half of the budgets and then swapping them.

Both the Senate and House subcommittees on the Department of Community Health (DCH) budget voted out bills this week.  Neither house agreed with the Governor’s proposal to roll up all the historical line items into six general lines.  They both voted to use the historical line item budgets detailing specific lines for specific purposes.  (The current year budget for DCH has 143 line items.)

Of particular note and interest to Michigan Community Health Centers is that neither version proposes any cuts to Medicaid rates or services from 2011.  That means the Governor and both houses have proposed bills that include adult dental and maintain the integrity of Medicaid, which are two of MPCA’s legislative priorities this year.  For this we are very thankful.   Of concern however, is a 15% cut in both versions to the primary care line, which will affect some Federally Qualified Health Centers that receive state funding; cuts to Graduate Medical Education (the House version proposes cutting all funding and the Senate concurs with the Governor in cutting funding by 40%); cuts to non-Medicaid mental health services (the House proposes cutting less than the Senate); and elimination of the Healthy Michigan Fund (the Governor had recommended retaining approximately $9 million in this fund, but both houses have recommended elimination).

Of note is the fact that funding for the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) has historically come from the Healthy Michigan Fund, but several legislators have expressed concern that this will need to be addressed.

A final note is that both the Governor and the Senate recommended a 5% cut to the line item that supports local public health department infrastructure and required services.  However, the House version reported out Thursday recommends a 10% cut.  This would total about $3.3 million.

Additional analysis of the budget proposals will take place next week and we will keep the FQHC network briefed as the process continues.   Calls to both Senator John Moolenaar’s office (517-373-7946) and Representative Lori’s office (517-373-0832) thanking them for protecting Medicaid rates and services would be much appreciated!!

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