As part of wide-ranging action taken Tuesday evening, the State Legislature’s powerful budget-writing committee approved a significant increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for emergency physicians starting in 2022. Addressing worst-in-the-nation Medicaid reimbursement levels, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) allocated more than $6.6 million over the next two years to raise base reimbursement rates by 15 percent. The issue was one of the Wisconsin Medical Society’s (WisMed) budget priorities for this budget cycle, and was highlighted as such at Doctor Day 2021 in May.
The JCF’s 60-item motion covered programs in various state agencies, and also included positive increases in other WisMed-supported areas such as an increase for opioid treatment providers, bolstering the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan to help lower-income citizens access affordable health coverage, obtaining a grant to support surgical quality improvement activities and supporting the Reach Out and Read Wisconsin program. The omnibus motion passed on an 11-4 vote, with majority Republicans in support.
One item not receiving as much improvement as had been hoped: increasing Medicaid post-partum coverage for new mothers. Although WisMed and other health care advocates pushed for an extension of coverage from the current 60 days post-partum to a full year, JCF approved just a 30-day addition to current coverage.
The JCF is nearing completion of its work modifying Governor Tony Evers’s 2021-23 biennial budget proposal, with final committee action scheduled for later today. The bill will then need to be approved by both houses of the state Legislature before advancing to Gov. Evers’ desk for approval or veto. The next state budget biennium starts on July 1, 2021.
Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for additional information.
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