House Budget Bill addresses Medicaid cost shift, makes investments
“Balancing the budget is always a challenge,” said Speaker Shap Smith, “our goal is to make investments in Vermonters and to create opportunity for growth across the board. This year, our budget is focused on maintaining the commitments to policy choices that we have made in the past, with the knowledge that we operate in a fiscally constrained environment. I am pleased that we were able to do this while both spending and raising less than the governor’s proposed budget.”
The budget increases provider reimbursement by 3%, addressing the Medicaid cost shift. The bill directs insurance companies to acknowledge this change in their rates, thus lowering Vermonter’s insurance rate growth. “This budget will ease the transition for Vermonters moving from Catamount and VHAP into the Exchange by providing premium and cost sharing subsidies in the amounts recommended by our Healthcare Committee,” said House Appropriations Chair Martha Heath.
Investments in the well-being of Vermonters are prioritized in this budget. The budget increases child care subsidies, provides more funding for higher education scholarships, and ensures more children will have free or reduced lunch.
Preparation of this year’s budget required, for the seventh year in a row, addressing a gap between available resources and estimated expenditures. Recognizing the impending federal sequester and the possibility of further federal spending cuts in the future, the budget leaves $9M in reserves to keep the state on a financially sustainable path.
The bill passed the House with a tri-partisan vote and will move to the Senate for further consideration.
More information about H.530 can be found here: