House Budget Positive for Health Care

March 27, 2019

The House released its proposed 2019-21 budget Monday. Overall, this is a positive budget for health care and hospitals. We expect the Senate’s budget to be released either later this week or early next week.

Highlights of the House budget include:

  • No cuts to health care or hospitals, including no cuts to Medicaid nor hospital-based clinics.
  • Funding for the Hospital Safety Net Assessment in a manner that WSHA supports.
  • Significant investments in behavioral health, including operating and capital funding to support increasing capacity for long-term civil commitment services.
  • WSHA is disappointed the House does not include funding for partial hospitalization programs.
  • An investment of $115 million in capital funds for behavioral health capacity, including $31.9 million earmarked to three community hospitals to help increase their capacity to serve long-term civil commitment patients.

The proposed budget assumes new revenue from a new capital gains tax, an increase to the business and occupation tax rate for select activities and moving the real estate excise tax from a flat tax rate to a graduated rate. While WSHA is still checking, we do not believe the B&O tax increase applies to hospitals. The rate increase does not apply to employed physicians but would apply to contracted or independent physicians.

Read our Inside Olympia for our complete overview and click here for the budget details.  (Andrew Busz,


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