State Health Care Budget Balances Positives, Negatives
Maureen McNally, Director, Government Relations, Froedtert Hospital
Early this year, Governor Doyle kicked off Wisconsin’s biennial budget process with his proposal to the Legislature. After the usual round of lengthy debate and amendments, the budget returned to the governor’s desk, and he signed the final version into law late in July. The new plan contains the requisite positives and negatives for hospitals and healthcare providers.
On the positive side:
- No change to eligibility and coverage for state healthcare programs (Medicaid, BadgerCare, SeniorCare, etc.)
- Dedicated additional revenues to graduate medical education programs, partially restoring cuts made in last budget
- Removed proposed transfer from the Injured Patients and Families Compensation fund to fund Medicaid program costs
- Extended prenatal care coverage to non-qualified immigrants
And in spite of valiant efforts by advocates, our budget contains a few disappointments as well. Specifically:
- The Governor vetoed a Medicaid outpatient payment increase
- Reduced pharmacy payments under Medicaid, SeniorCare and BadgerCare
- Reduced Medicaid payment rate for outpatient hospital therapy and added a prior authorization requirement
Your voice is powerful – many legislators report receiving calls and letters in support of efforts to improve hospital payments in the Medicaid program. This advocacy effort made a significant difference and I thank each of you who took the time to e-mail, write, call or visit your legislators. If you are interested in receiving advocacy updates and learning more about getting involved, please call or e-mail me at 414.805.5284 or email@example.com.