FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 14, 2013
Contact: John Clayton
Vice President for Communications
The Governor’s budget address begins the process of developing a budget for the next biennium…there will no doubt be many twists and turns over the coming months as the Governor and Legislature work to set spending and revenue priorities for the next two years.
We were pleased to see that Governor Hassan followed through on her commitment to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in her budget. Expanding coverage is the right thing to do and it will provide coverage to people who our hospitals are already caring for when they show up in emergency rooms because they have no place else to turn. By expanding Medicaid, these people will be able to get the care they need at the right time and in the right place so that they can avoid a health care crisis and the expensive care that is provided in the emergency room.
And we applaud Governor Hassan for taking steps to address the mental health crisis that is gripping our state through investments in community based care as well as additional inpatient psychiatric beds…this is absolutely essential to avert this crisis and to ensure that patients, including children, in need of acute psychiatric care are able to get the care they so desperately need.
Governor Hassan’s acknowledgement that the budget needs to address the “massive tax increase on hospitals that was enacted in the last budget” is important and we are working to understand just exactly how her budget accomplishes that goal.
While we work to understand those details, what is absolutely certain is that we cannot continue the current policy of forcing hospitals to pay a Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) without also receiving an appropriate disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment that recognizes the growing costs of uncompensated care that they are facing. Failure to resolve that very real problem in the upcoming biennium will have dramatic consequences for patients and communities. We look forward to working with Governor Hassan and legislative leaders in both the House and Senate over the coming months to find innovative solutions to this complex, challenging and very real problem.
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