Monday, June 18, 2012

NC State Budget Update

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Last week, the NC Senate approved a $20.1 billion state budget. It spends $127 million less than the House proposal and $758 million less than what Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue offered.  During the committee process, the members of the public were allowed to comment 

One of the big differences in the House and Senate proposed budgets is how the two chambers approach Medicaid and health-related spending. The Senate budget plan calls for spending $100 million more than the House on Medicaid, and also provides a $102 million reserve for the State Health Plan. The House reserve is $1 million. The differences in the Medicaid budget are, in large part, a result of Senate budget writers dropping about $70 million in anticipated savings called for in the House plan. The anticipated savings in the House plan include $59.2 million from the Medicaid managed care program Community Care North Carolina.  Some of these savings were a proposed cap on Medicaid therapies which was also repealed by the NC House.   With both the House and Senate in agreement, Medicaid beneficiaries would now be eligible for up to 30 visits of physical, speech and occupational therapy as opposed to the 3 visit limit included in the 2012 budget.  

Also last week, the House Committee on Insurance approved SB656, which would reinstate the right for individuals to choose their physical therapist under their health benefits plan, a statute repealed in 2001.

This week, the House and Senate budget conferees are working out the differences in their budgets.  For more information about the bills discussed in this post, as well as any other legislative queries, visit the General Assembly website here

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