Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations
Unlike previous years where the state faced revenue shortfalls, this year’s challenge will be determining the fate of a projected $1.1 billion surplus. Governor Doug Ducey proposes to save roughly half by depositing it into the state rainy day fund and invest the other half on education, public safety and other longtime priorities. Top healthcare budget items include the lifting of the KidsCare enrollment freeze, additional funding for maternity care, and a $44 million increase in the state hospital assessment. Here are the numbers regarding each:
KidsCare is an AHCCCS program that provides health coverage for more than 32,000 children of the state’s working poor. A 2017 law requires the state to freeze enrollment in the program if the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP), the portion of Medicaid funding contributed by the federal government, falls below 100%. Currently, the FMAP is scheduled to drop to 90.5% in September. Without this change it’s likely 6,000 fewer children would be eligible for the program.
Additionally, the Governor’s proposal includes $1 million for new prenatal-care telemedicine grants, allowing pregnant women in rural areas to access healthcare more easily. Current care gaps put women and children across the state at higher risk of complications during and after pregnancy.
Finally, the proposal includes a $44 million increase in the state hospital assessment. The increase is the result of a scheduled reduction of the FMAP from 93% to 90% for some AHCCCS populations.
The budget process extends throughout legislative session and AzHHA will remain very engaged on our members’ behalf. AzHHA members can request to be invited to participate in the biweekly legislative calls to receive the most up-to-date information.