Governor Jay Inslee released his proposed 2018 supplemental budget today. This budget adds about $1 billion to fund basic education, but the governor also highlighted opioid use, emergency preparedness and mental health services as priorities. Read more from the governor here, or read coverage of the budget from Northwest Public Radio here.
The good news for hospitals and health systems is that there are no major funding cuts to health care. WSHA is thrilled that this budget does not make cuts to Medicaid payments for hospital-based clinics, which are critical providers of primary and specialty care in communities. WSHA is also pleased about investments to combat the opioid crisis and improve mental health.
The largest investments in mental health and health care overall are at Western and Eastern state hospitals. The budget adds significant dollars to increase staffing and improve compliance to help ensure the hospitals can comply with CMS requirements.
There are a few lingering uncertainties, however. There are few details about the governor’s revenue assumptions, and more information is expected in the next few days. More significantly, Congress has continued to fail to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Without these federal dollars, the state’s budget would have a hole of between $60 million and $150 million, or be forced to eliminate health insurance for about 50,000 of Washington’s children.
WSHA will release a more detailed analysis of the budget tomorrow.