An Act to Protect Health Care Reform Funding

Summary:

Establishes the Medicaid and Health Care Reform FMAP Trust Fund; requires comptroller to deposit to the fund an amount that is equivalent to the additional Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program funding pursuant to the national health care laws of 2010; requires those funds to be used to support the financing of health insurance coverage for low income Massachusetts residents and to improve Medicaid reimbursement to health care providers.

Co-Sponsors:

Senator Richard Moore and (at the time) Representative Linda Dorcena Forry

Background:

Beginning in January 2014, Massachusetts will receive significant additional federal funding due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  It is estimated that the enhanced Medicaid matching revenue will provide the State with more than $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2019 and more than $400 million per year in 2020 and thereafter.

The bill being proposed would ensure that this enhanced funding would be used for state healthcare purposes and not re-directed to other uses as the tobacco settlement money was.  It calls on the State Comptroller to deposit the funds in a Trust Fund and to provide full transparency for the expenditure of the funds.

Current Status:

Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.  Hearing held on October 8.

Testimony:

Suzanne Curry Health Care For All
We want to expand health coverage for low income residents, we do not want to backtrack from success that we have made. We have had opportunities to further expand our programs. We want to make sure the funding goes towards its intended purpose. We support both the subsidized programs and also support the providers that are providing care for those folks. This will also bring transparency to the budget we haven't seen this far so we can see how much is coming in and where it is going. we ask for your support.
David Matteodo Executive Director
Mass Association of Behavioral Health Systems
I just want to make a few points, you are all aware of what this does. There is a real crunch for inpatient beds here in Massachusetts. This is something that this legislature could do. We have added 67 beds in Massachusetts since 2005. That is not much and there is tremendous need. No general hospital added adult beds. Adult is where the crunch is. No one is adding beds, but private sites are. I don't hear many plans to add. One of the reasons is the poor reimbursements. MBHP is a big payer and we have gotten 1 rate increase which was 1%. This is really underfunded. We?re doing everything possible to get that contract appropriately funded so MBHP can meet these. The legislature put in a million dollars, but we need more. This is why i want to support this. The money will be there, is there going to be a desire to address. Sen. James T. Welch: Do you have any raw numbers? David Matteodo: For my sector, the MGHP is basically a $100 million. Each percent is about a million. With inflation it would be about $12 million. We would celebrate with that, we were happy when we got a million. We?re not talking about $400 million here. We have not gotten much. Just to get the inflation over those would be great.
Michael Curry Mass League of Health Centers
According to a national study by George Washington University, health centers generate $1,263 per person in savings annually by reducing the rate of preventable hospitalization. Massachusetts community health centers are 80% publically dependent, and 80% is medicaid. Because of our role in serving the states medicaid population we continually express our support in working in the Commonwealth and expanding our coverage and we support SB554 and HB1023. This establishes a Massachusetts health plan and health care reform dedicated to supporting medicaid and low income health care. We ask for your support.
Jason Aluia Government Relations Manager
Massachusetts Association of Health Plans
On SB546 What this bill would do is subject a public hearing for health information analysis. This would address the rising level of health care cost so that scrutiny is placed on health care. This is looking to reduce the cost of health care and help increase transparency. We want to find the true cost of health care.
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