Friday, July 9, 2010

End of Budget Update

Hoping to adjourn by the weekend, lawmakers gave final approval to dozens of bills Thursday while continuing to seek compromises on a range of others. The House and Senate held all-day floor sessions, using recesses to hold committee meetings and work behind the scenes to eliminate differences between the two chambers on competing bills.

Thank you for being engaged in this process and for your continued support. These are a few items that may be important to you:

  • $75,000 for accessible electronic information for blind and disabled persons that was proposed by the Senate was included in the final budget.

  • $100,000 was also added for Project C.A.R.E.—funding that was not present in either budget proposal originally.

  • Position eliminations for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation were reduced from 8 to 5.

  • The two chambers settled on the House’s proposed cut for Vocational Rehabilitation Basic support instead of the Senate’s proposed cut of $2.6 million dollars, which was twice as more.

  • A $2.065 million dollar cut on improved utilization management for optional services was added into the final budget (savings through limits and prior approval policies on outpatient optional services—chiropractic, optical and podiatry services)

  • The finalized budget still includes the $519 million dollars in expected federal funding that has not been received from Congress.

  • A contingency plan was developed in case the federal money does not come through before January 1st. The plan includes withdrawing money from different funds in a priority based order to cover any possible shortfall.

o The first measure would be pulling $30 million from the disaster relief fund, the second would be removing $35 million from unclaimed lottery prize money and higher than expected receipts.

o In the worst case scenario, the very last measure on this list of eight includes imposing a one percent “flexibility” cut across all state agencies to produce an additional $177.5 million dollars.

o Also included in the contingency plan is cutting Medicaid provider rates for $26.6 million dollars, which would result in fewer providers accepting Medicaid patients.

  • Included in the special provisions report is High Risk Insurance Pool authorizing legislation. Click here for more information.

  • The report also includes language on the Medicaid preferred drug list, which states all therapeutic classes of prescription drugs will be considered for inclusion. The special provisions report says that the Department will enter a multistate purchasing pool, negotiate with manufacturers or labelers, and contract with a pharmacy benefit manager for negotiates discounts/rebates for prescription drugs under the medical assistance program. Additional cuts may be made if FMAP money is not progress by Congress.

  • The ADA Resolution (HJR2076), honoring the 20th Anniversary of the ADA and NC disability advocates, was passed on the House on June 24th . Representatives Weiss, Insko, Wiley, Blackwell, Farmer-Butterfield, and Floyd provided statements during the hearing commending the resolution. When the resolution passed the Senate on July 1st, remarks were given by Senator Dorsett and Senator Ellie Kinnaird. Be sure to share your thanks with your Senator or House Representative!

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