How does one follow the complex state budget process?
As they did last year, the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI) will be issuing budget summaries produced by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center in partnership with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. The briefs look at the health care coverage budget, focusing on MassHealth (Medicaid) and other subsidized health coverage programs.
The first brief for fiscal year 2014 (pdf) was released today, looking at the Governor’s House 1 budget proposal (our summary is here). The budget includes the changes stemming from implementation of the subsidized coverage programs in the ACA starting in January 2014. All the numbers are here, showing the anticipated increase in MassHealth spending as people move from Commonwealth Care and other programs into MassHealth.
The brief makes clear the interrelationship of the health spending plan and the broader revenue proposal:
The projected health care spending is part of a larger state budget proposal, and the administration has indicated that its ability to reinvest new federal dollars received under ACA implementation in health care, rather than diverting them for other budgetary uses, depends on approval of other aspects of the proposed budget, including a plan to raise new revenues through a variety of tax reforms. The House 1 health spending proposal also relies on approval of a plan to modify and repurpose an existing employer assessment currently used to fund a separate health coverage program and use the revenue to provide general support for subsidized health coverage available through MassHealth and the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector.
These briefs are invaluable, and we highly recommend them to anyone seeking to understand the Massachusetts budget. Future editions will follow the budget process as it winds its way through the House, then the Senate, and finally to the Governor this summer.