Last week, the State Budget Committee of Conference reached agreement on a final version of HB1 and HB2, the bills that make up the state budget. This budget has won support from the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House and House and Senate minority leadership. Both the House and Senate will vote on the budget Wednesday, June 26.
The proposed budget spends over $400 million more than the current budget. Some of the highlights of interest to AARP can be found below.
- $192,000 in SFY14 and $321,000 in SFY15 was restored for Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Caregiving supports, which was one of AARP’s main requests.
- Long-term care Medicaid funding which is dedicated to home- and community-based services, in the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services, was maintained while bed tax funding was restored to the private and county nursing homes.
- The Senate-included provision to create an “Innovation in Medicaid Delivery Commission” was killed. It would have worked to create a new Medicaid waiver application (1115 Medicaid waiver) to obtain federal matching funds to improve access and quality of care for Medicaid recipients. DHHS will probably work on its own to create an 1115 waiver.
- A number of DHHS Study Commissions were included in HB2:
- Commission to study the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in New Hampshire. Although there are already many studies that show the fiscal, economic, and health benefits of expanded Medicaid, a study committee will be taking another look. Their reporting deadline is October 15th. After the committee shares their findings, there may be a special session of the legislature called to hold a vote on Medicaid expansion.
- Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) Study Commission.
- Commission to review and analyze the costs and future funding of Medicaid long-term care services for the elderly, either in licensed facilities or under the Medicaid waiver in New Hampshire.
- Uncompensated Care Fund: The committee agreed to the Senate’s position, which was to reduce the House’s spending on uncompensated care payments to hospitals.
- Certificate of Need: The repeal of the Certificate of Need Board for new hospital construction was repealed and new reforms for the Board were adopted. The nursing home bed moratorium has been extended to June 2016.
- Step 1 Medicaid Managed Care: New Hampshire hospitals must “participate” in Medicaid managed care in order to receive payments for uncompensated care.