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FY19 Health Care Budget Amendments Review

FY19 Health Care Budget Amendments Review

April 20, 2018

On April 23, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will begin voting on the state’s budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1 of this year. Representatives will consider 1400 amendment proposed by Representatives, including a number of important health-care related amendments.

HCFA is supporting a number of amendments that will improve access to affordable and quality health care coverage; there are also some proposed amendments we oppose that would move us backwards.

With debate in the House starting, it is crucial that your Representative knows how constituents feel about these critical health care related amendments. To find your State Representative’s contact information, click here.  A summary of these key amendments is below:

[For full explanations of each amendment, see our complete budget amendment fact sheet here]

HCFA Supports:

Health Insurance:

Amendment #1268 (Insurance Provider Directories): Sponsored by Rep. Barber, establishes comprehensive requirements on health plans to make accurate provider directories available to the public.

Oral Health:

Amendment #580 (Periodontal Coverage Restoration): Sponsored by Rep. Scibak, adds language and $12 million (over half federally reimbursed) to MassHealth to reinstate coverage for periodontal services for adult MassHealth enrollees.

Amendment #976 (DPH Office of Oral Health): Sponsored by Rep. Hogan, is a no-cost amendment that removes an earmark to free up sufficient funding for the operation of DPH’s Office of Oral Health.

Amendment #812 (Dental Program for Children): Sponsored by Rep. Cahill, funds the Forsyth Kids program at $300,000, level-funded from FY2018.

Prescription Drugs:

Amendment #557 (Academic Detailing Initiative): Sponsored by Rep. Benson, adds language and $500,000 to fund a physician education program on cost-effective ways to manage pain without opioids, administered by the Health Policy Commission.

Amendment #1285 (Ban Drug Company Marketing “Coupons”): Sponsored by Rep. Barber, reinstates the state’s prohibition on drug industry marketing “coupons” by 2019.

Amendment #620 (MassHealth Drug Cost Control and Transparency): Sponsored by Rep. Jones, authorizes MassHealth to negotiate cost-effective drug prices, and receive pricing information if no agreement can be reached.

Children’s Health:

Amendment #247 (Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health): Sponsored by Rep. Balser, would provide $125,000 to support collaboration activities of the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Early Education and Care.

Amendment #473 (Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids): Sponsored by Rep. Golden, would provide $200,000 to maintain MHAP for Kids.

Amendment #1172 (Expansion of Return to School “Bridge” Programs): Sponsored by Rep. Campbell, would provide $250,000 to expand these bridge programs.

Amendment #198 (Protecting Medically Complex and Fragile Children): Sponsored by Rep. Dwyer, would provide an additional $16 million investment in the Continuous Skilled Nursing Program.

HCFA Opposes:

Amendments #116 and #339 (MassHealth Control Board): Sponsored by Reps. Lombardo and Lyons, set up a MassHealth Control Board with broad authority to make changes to the MassHealth program, with no legislative oversight.

Amendment #337 (Harmful MassHealth Proposal): Sponsored by Rep. Lyons, requires that MassHealth spending not exceed 30% of the total state budget. This would force massive cuts in MassHealth.

Amendment #338 (Harmful MassHealth Proposal): Sponsored by Rep. Lyons, requires all “able-bodied adults” (not defined) on MassHealth to either be employed, looking for work, or in a job training program. There is no exemption for people attending college, for pregnant women, or people with disabilities in the process of being categorized as disabled.

Again, we strongly encourage each of you to contact your State Representative regarding each of these amendments. Make sure that your voice is being heard by those making the decisions!

-Davis Jackson