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A new legislative session will begin on January 3,  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.

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