Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

The House and Senate Appropriation Chairs continued working on finalizing the budget last Friday. They will return to work today.  The major concern facing our legislative budget leaders is the continual delay of Congress to pass the FMAP extension. If the FMAP extension is not passed prior to the close of our fiscal year, leaders will need to grapple with cuts to cover a $500 million budget deficit.

The target for the NC General Assembly to wrap up their budget is by June 29th. Both chambers want a new budget in place by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.  That would mean a possible release of the budget and vote on the budget scheduled for some time this week.

The big question? Which budget will we see. The one that has the additional cuts to make up the $500 million deficit or the budget that leaves the $500 million in federal money in with the hope those dollars will show up.

We will continue to follow the action as it unfolds.

Bills To Follow:
On Tuesday the House will honor the life and work of Myrna Miller. Here is the link to the House Joint Resolution.

On Friday the US Senate passed only a small portion of the Medicaid extension packages that had been coupled with the Unemployment bill.
The only part that this chamber could get passed was emergency help to doctors that actually came to late for many of them. On June 1 Medicare reimbursement rates were drastically reduced by 21%. A cut this deep will cause many doctors to rethink treating Medicare and Medicaid patients.
On Friday the US Senate passed a provision that will temporarily remove the 21% cut to Medicare rates. However, it may be too late. This smaller Medicare provision still needs to return to the House for a vote.

As for the larger FMAP extension that close to 40 states are now relying on to balance their budget, there seems to be yet another delaying in passage of the bill. It is still connected to the unemployment insurance extension bill.  

We will continue to follow this story.

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