Senators on the budget committee on Tuesday began doing the only things they can do with Gov. Larry Hogan’s $42.3 billion budget — cutting it around the edges and fencing off money for special purposes. That included a $58 million cut in Medicaid reimbursement to health care providers — based on lower enrollment estimates — and cutting part of Hogan’s modest legislative agenda, $3 million for Early Graduation Scholarships for students who complete high school in three years or less.
State officials are working to make sure people being released from prison will sign up for benefits during the 2014 Medicaid expansion.
When the enrollment date for individual health plans rolls around in October, former inmates will also be eligible for health plans offered in state health care exchanges, another part of the “Obamacare” Affordable Care Act implementation. But health advocates say that at best it’s more likely they’ll be signing up for Medicaid, because of their low incomes.
The legislature’s budget analysts have proposed to phase out Medicaid coverage for pregnant women with incomes between 185% and 250% of the federal poverty line on the basis that these women will qualify for the state health exchange implemented under Obamacare.
But officials from Maryland’s $7 billion Medicaid program argue that this shift would jeopardize access to prenatal screenings and other health services that pregnant women and their babies need.
The O’Malley administration is asking state legislators to take the final steps to implement the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, and pass another bill to pave the way for expanded health insurance under Obamacare. The proposed Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 would dedicate funding to the state health exchange and make other changes required by federal law before the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline .
Legislative analysts told lawmakers Monday that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget contains a number of fiscally responsible moves they had recommended in previous years and an unexpected $200 million drop in the cost of Medicaid health care. But it also extends for another five years $411 million in borrowing to replace cash from special funds used to finance other programs.
Health care system reforms under the Affordable Care Act will cost the state billions to implement but are also projected to generate income from FY 2014 to FY 2020 as a result of the newly insured, a new study reports.
Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Hilltop Institute estimate that the unemployment rate will decrease nearly 1% by 2020 as a result of almost 135,000 jobs created across all sectors by the new legislation.
Maryland will receive a $28 million performance bonus from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for fiscal year 2011 for its consistent efforts to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP coverage.