A new legislative session will begin on
when returning members and newly elected members
will be sworn into office. During February 7, 2017, Governor Wolf will address
the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate to outline his budget
proposal for the 2017–2018 fiscal year. Following the budget address, the
legislature will begin appropriation committee hearings with state agencies to
vet the Governor’s budget proposal and to develop their own budget proposals.
Policymakers will immediately face major
policy decisions. During this time, much of the conversation will be centered
around the projected budget deficit and potential changes at the federal level
related to the Affordable Care Act. As reported during the Wolf
Administration’s mid-year budget briefing, the commonwealth is facing a $600
million budget deficit. In addition, potential changes in the ACA create a high
level of uncertainty for states and stakeholders around funding and payment
structures throughout the continuum of care.
Looking forward to the 2017–2018 fiscal year
budget negotiations, HAP will continue to build on the strong legislative
support that hospitals received in 2016-2017 budget. HAP is asking state policy
makers to maintain current year funding levels for all hospital payments,
including Medical Assistance supplemental funding for obstetric and neonatal
services, hospital-based burn centers, and trauma centers.
Pennsylvania’s current state budget of $31.63
billion provided the necessary support for hospitals and patients. The budget
included an increase in funds for critical
access hospitals (CAH) to include a new CAH; maintained funding levels
for all hospital payments and supplemental funding for hospitals that provide
obstetrics and neonatal intensive care services; and level-funded burn and
trauma centers. Finally, the budget contained a HAP-supported dollar increase
to the state cigarette tax.