April 30, 2021 - Last week, both the House and Senate Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Sub-Committees passed their respective budgets, representing the Legislature's first drafts of the state's largest departmental budget. As you may recall, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included funding for all of MAFP’s priorities in her 2021-22 executive budget recommendation, except for a Medicare reimbursement increase for certain primary care services.
MAFP Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget priorities include:
- $1.5 million GF/GP for the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program, which offers student loan forgiveness for primary care physicians and non-physician providers who demonstrate a commitment to practice in medically underserved areas
- Continued funding for MIDOCS, which dedicates Medicaid funds specifically to community-based primary care residency programs
- Continuation of the Healthy Mom, Healthy Babies Program, which offers postpartum Medicaid coverage for qualified mothers and babies; last year this program was extended from up to 60 to to up to one year
- Funds to continue the IVaccinate campaign
- Medicaid primary care reimbursement increase, with a goal of reaching 100% of Medicare rates; the current rate is around 75%.
The House took a different budget approach this year, funding some programs through the first quarter, while funding others through the entire fiscal year. This would require additional appropriations for the remainder of the year. The House also determined that individuals receiving healthcare coverage from the lengthened Healthy Moms, Health Babies Program would qualify for healthcare services through other programs. Therefore, a reduction in the program's funding and a return to 60-day postpartum coverage was recommended. All other MAFP priorities, except for increased Medicare reimbursement rates, were funded by the House panel.
The Senate retained all of the funding for MAFP priorities included in the Governor's executive recommendation. Most notably, additional funds were added to the MIDOCS program, bringing the yearly funding to $6.7 million--an increase of over $1 million.
Due to points of difference between the House and Senate budget proposals, the bills will go before a joint conference committee, where members from each chamber will iron out the differences and provide a final MDHHS budget proposal. The MAFP advocacy team continues to meet with legislators and budget chairs as the process continues.