February 7, 2020—On Feb. 6, State Budget Director Chris Kolb presented Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget recommendation at a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
The proposal includes $11 billion in state general fund (GF) dollars—a 5.8% increase from FY 2020. Of the $11 billion, $5.09 billion is allocated to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Including all federal funding, grants, and contracts, the Department is proposed to have a budget of $27.15 billion for FY 2021, which is a 2.4% increase overall.
The goal of the MDHHS budget is improving long-term outcomes and cost savings. A significant focus is on the new Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program the governor referenced in her State of the State address last week, which is estimated at $37.5 million ($17.6 million GF). This funding would be used to extend Medicaid family planning benefits for women up to 200% of the federal poverty level, and to expand postpartum coverage for mothers up to one year (current coverage maximum is 60 days).
MIDOCS would see an overhaul in the 2021 budget, should the Legislature concur with Governor Whitmer's proposal. The program would receive $21.6 million GF for 48 residency positions within cohorts beginning training over the next five years. The program currently supports eight residency positions. This one-time funding would be combined with base funding to bring the program total to $85.6 million.
Other highlights in the governor's 2021 budget recommendation include:
- $10 million GF to expand MDHHS' response to the opioid crisis
- $10 million for a new Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund
- $7.1 million GF to invest in a social determinants of health infrastructure
- $4.5 billion to continue the Healthy Michigan Plan
Click here to review the FY 2021 budget proposal in its entirety (the MDHHS budget begins on page B-33).
In comparison to other state departments, MDHHS would see the most cuts in this budget, raising concerns from stakeholders. Many of these cuts are due to shifts in general fund dollars into other programs that would draw matching federal funds. The overall impact on programs slated for budget cuts is still being determined.
Gov. Whitmer's budget proposal now moves to the Legislature, where lawmakers will look to make changes based on district priorities. The Legislature is required to present the 2021 budget to the governor by July 1.