Medicaid Financing Issues Grab Attention Of State Lawmakers

State legislators deal with Medicaid financing issues including increasing hospital assessments to leverage federal money in Oregon, paying off Medicaid bills in Texas and detailing a shortfall in North Carolina.

The Lund Report: House Committee OKs Hospital Assessment Increase
The House Health Committee unanimously passed House Bill 2216, renewing and extending the hospital assessment tax used to help fund the Oregon Health Plan. HB 2216 must next go to the House Revenue Committee before a full House vote. Under an agreement worked out between the governor's office and the Oregon Health Leadership Council -- a collaborative of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies -- hospitals will be assessed 5.32 of net patient revenue to count as matching state funds that help Oregon gain federal dollars. The hospitals get all of that money back once the federal Medicaid money comes through at a 2 to 1 ratio. In the current biennium, with the state's 26 largest hospitals assessed at 4.32 percent, $650 million in these funds generated $1.16 billion in federal matching funds (Gray, 3/12).

The Texas Tribune: House Sends Medicaid IOU Bill To Perry
Two days ahead of a crucial deadline, the Texas House sent a bill to Gov. Rick Perry Tuesday that pays off $4.5 billion in Medicaid IOUs and speeds up a $1.75 billion payment that schools were already expecting. House members unanimously approved changes the Senate made last week to House Bill 10, the first supplemental budget bill of the session, after state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie and the chamber’s chief budget writer, endorsed them (Batheja, 3/13).

North Carolina Health News: Medicaid Director Details Budget Shortfall For Legislators
The state's Medicaid director told legislators Tuesday morning that she's getting a handle on the expenses for the program that covers health care for 1.5 million low-income and disabled North Carolinians, and then went on to outline a projected budget shortfall of between $70 million and $132 million for the fiscal year. Medicaid head Carol Steckel’s presentation to the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services came just days after Gov. Pat McCrory released a memo telling state agency leaders to limit expenses for their departments in order to cover a shortfall in the Medicaid budget (Hoban, 3/13).

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