Governor set to present his proposed fiscal 2019 state budget | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Governor set to present his proposed fiscal 2019 state budget

Posted By on Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 8:15 AM

HUTCHINSON: Medicaid will once again be a focus at fiscal session.
  • HUTCHINSON: Medicaid will once again be a focus at fiscal session.

You can watch a livestream here. The governor presented a fiscal year 2019 budget with a net reduction in overall projected spending of $64 $100 million compared to the FY 2019 budget the governor projected a year ago. The $5.626 billion budget would represent a $172 million increase over spending in FY 2018, the current fiscal year. Benji Hardy was on hand and will have more shortly.

Governor Hutchinson
will address the legislative Joint Budget Committee this morning and propose his fiscal 2019 state budget. The new fiscal year begins on July 1.

The JBC will be holding pre-fiscal session budget hearings all week. The governor is slated to outline his proposed budget at 9 a.m.

I would expect the governor to again trumpet this year's ten-percent reduction in the Medicaid rolls, announced last week, which Hutchinson attributes to an improving economy as well as efforts to crack down on eligibility verification. Because of the reduction, as well as other structural changes, the Medicaid program will now require $47 million less than expected in state general revenue for fiscal 2019. Meanwhile, the governor has said that ongoing efforts to implement the state's Health Reform Task Force recommendations are on track to save more than $800 million in the traditional Medicaid program over five years.

The fiscal session is ostensibly exclusively about budget matters and approving the budget allocations for the following year. In practice, substantive policy matters have bled in. The last two fiscal sessions have been dominated by fights over re-authorizing the state's Medicaid expansion program. Because appropriations require 75-percent supermajority approval in both houses, rump groups of opponents have threatened to defund the entire Medicaid program unless the majority of Medicaid expansion supporters bent to their will and kicked 300,000 people off the program. The program, now known as Arkansas Works, will once again face tight margins to be re-authorized this year, particularly since two senate seats are currently vacant until special elections in May (vacancies are equivalent to a No — approval still requires 27 senators in the 35-seat senate).

Hutchinson has promised additional cost reductions to the program via proposed changes to the Medicaid expansion program. Because he has not yet received the federal approval required for these alterations, they will not be included in his proposed budget. These changes — including a reduction in eligibility that would remove at least 60,000 Arkansans from the program — could be implemented in the coming months, however. The Hutchinson administration has expressed confidence that federal approval is coming; once it does, state officials will need 60 days to implement the changes.


Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • DHS continues to reimburse Medicaid managed care company co-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare

    The Department of Human Services continues to use a provider-led Medicaid managed care company that is part-owned by Preferred Family Healthcare, despite a recent decision to cut other ties with the Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit enmeshed in multiple corruption scandals.
    • Jul 13, 2018
  • State yanks PFH funds

    Another former executive with scandal-plagued mental health provider arrested.
    • Jul 5, 2018
  • Robin Raveendran and Person 9 in the Cranford/Preferred Family Healthcare web

    The federal criminal information released as part of former lobbyist Rusty Cranford's June 7 guilty plea on bribery charges describes a Person 9 who worked for the nonprofit healthcare provider Preferred Family Healthcare and was associated with Cranford. The description of Person 9 appears to match Robin Raveendran, the former PFH executive — and former longtime staffer at the state's Department of Human Services — who was arrested Thursday in a separate case, charged in Independence County with two felony counts of Medicaid fraud after an investigation by the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
    • Jun 29, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Trump administration approves Medicaid waiver for Kentucky, including work requirements

    The Trump administration today approved Kentucky's request for a waiver of Medicaid rules to implement certain changes to its Medicaid expansion program, including work requirements. Next up, Arkansas?
    • Jan 12, 2018
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation