Lawmakers focus on state budget in session’s second week
The state budget was the focal point for lawmakers during the 2019 Georgia legislative session’s second week.
The first step in the process is finalizing the amended budget for 2019 (AFY 2019). The second is developing a budget for FY 2020.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget recommendations for AFY 2019 include…
– $9.3 million for a new, four-year Mercer University School of Medicine medical school campus in Columbus
– $8.4 million to provide mental health services in high schools in the state through the Georgia Apex Program (GAP)
– $54 million for the state’s Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid program, including $18.8 million to ensure that private hospitals in the state are able to secure federal Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program funds
Meanwhile, Gov. Kemp’s recommendations for FY 2020 include…
– $5.9 million for gene therapy drug coverage
– $3.2 million to add long-term acute care hospitals (LTACs) and intermediate rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) as Medicaid providers
– A $34.4 million reduction to reflect a one-year moratorium of the Health Insurer Provider Fee
– $2.8 million for the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce, including $2.3 million for additional GME slots and $500,000 for the rural loan repayment program
– $4.9 million for addictive diseases bed capacity
During this week’s budget hearings, the commissioners of the various state departments addressed their departmental needs. New Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck pointed out that the budget for Georgia’s insurance departments is lower than most other states. He also noted that health insurers have never been audited to ensure that they are complying with the state’s “prompt pay” law – which was enacted in 2013.
Finally, MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton reports that bills will being working their way through the legislative process next week, including some that are related to MAG’s priorities for the year (see the article below for details).