On February 7, Governor Rick Snyder presented his Fiscal Year 2019 budget before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, as is customary. His presentation focused on Michigan's ongoing comeback and the positive gains the state has made, including ranking #1 in the Great Lakes Region for private-sector jobs and inbound migration of people with a bachelor’s degree, and boasting the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years (falling 10% since 2009).
The Governor’s total proposed budget of $56.8 billion is up 0.6% over last year, with some spending increases going to education, specifically per-pupil spending for lowest-funded schools and higher education.
On the healthcare side, the proposed budget recommends $25.2 billion in total funding for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), of which $4.5 billion is General Fund. This includes one-time funding of $9 million General Fund. MDHHS' budget makes up 44% of the $56.8 billion budget. The Medicaid program comprises 60% of the Department's total budget
In the case of the MAFP’s budget priorities, the Governor’s budget proposal is largely consistent with previous years, keeping level funding for the State Loan Repayment Program, Medicaid primary care fee uplift, and Graduate Medical Education. In accordance with statute, total funding for Healthy Michigan will increase to $4.1 billion gross ($217.6 million General Fund), or 7% of the total share, with the federal government picking up the other 93% for calendar year 2019. According to the Governor’s budget documents, the General Fund cost continues to be more than offset by state savings.
Some notable additions to the budget include $8 million to expand the Department’s ability to conduct testing for per – and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) and respond to identified public health threats. The budget also includes $4.8 million to address emerging public health threats, including hepatitis C, mosquito and tick-borne illness, and threats from environmental contamination. For ongoing support to Flint, the budget provides $4.6 million for activities such as lead investigations and abatement for homes, physical and behavioral healthcare programs for Flint children, lead poisoning prevention efforts, and evidence-based home visiting programs. On the behavioral health side, the budget includes a boost for state psychiatrists, as Michigan is at a significant disadvantage compared to neighboring Great Lakes states when it comes to compensation for psychiatrists.
With the Governor’s budget targets released, the House and Senate appropriators will now get to work on their own measures, keeping in sight the traditional budget completion target of early June.