Facing reduced state revenues and higher costs due to the (coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, on April 3 Governor Inslee used his line-item veto authority to reduce the 2020 supplemental operating budget passed by the legislature last month. The reductions will reduce state spending by $253 million for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, and $210 million in the 2021-2023 biennium. Click here for the governor’s partial veto message.
Among the 147 separate items vetoed were several health care items, including;
- A 15 percent increase to primary care payment rates that would have gone into effect January 1, 2021;
- A 15 percent increase to payment rates for behavioral health providers that would have gone into effect January 1, 2021;
- Planned extension of Medicaid maternity-only coverage through the postpartum period; and
- A planned increase tor ambulance payment rates for safe transport to secure detox sites.
Given the broad financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the legislature will likely need to make additional adjustments during a special legislative session and/or during the 2021 legislative session. (Andrew Busz, firstname.lastname@example.org)