The State Senate adjourned Thursday night having signed the Senate Committee Substitute to House Bill 1, legislation to resolve the Medicaid budget shortfall. Without even a need for a conference committee, the bill passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly with only two no votes.
The Senate proposal trusts but verifies our plan, which credits the governor for savings already achieved, is a responsible proposal that fully funds Medicaid services this year while protecting the taxpayer and holding the governor accountable. The governor and the secretary of health and family services have been adamant in press conferences and committee testimony that they can come up with $139 million in efficiencies and managed care cost savings to fill the Medicaid budget shortfall in fiscal year 2012. They want to move next year’s dollars to pay off today’s bills.
But what happens if these savings aren’t achieved? During the last budget, the General Assembly asked the governor to achieve certain cost savings, but he was unable to fulfill that commitment. In addition, private companies have yet to be solicited for managed-care plans that have to be implemented by July 1. Who will be left holding the bag? Failure to achieve these savings can lead to a $750 million cut in Medicaid services next year.