The Bulletin Board

Senate Finance votes to reduce Medicaid payment increase for providers by $15 million

By: - May 16, 2023 4:49 pm

Providers had requested an additional $200 million in the next budget. (Getty Images)

Mental health centers, midwives, home health care aids, and other human service providers may see a smaller increase in Medicaid payments than the $134 million the House approved. 

The Senate Finance Committee voted, 5-1, Tuesday to cut the House’s increase by $15 million, which would give providers about a $119 million increase. 

With the federal match for Medicaid, that is at least a $30 million decrease in Medicaid funding.

Providers had requested an additional $200 million in the next budget. The governor proposed $24 million. The House increased that to $134 million after providers said the state is paying them so little in Medicaid that they can’t hire staff or adequately care for the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Senate President Jeb Bradley, who authored the amendment reducing the House amount, called the $119 million a “huge appropriation of dollars.” 

“We’ve got several huge items: housing, child care, pay raise for state employees, education funding, and Medicaid provider rates,” Bradley said. “If we don’t, at least in my opinion, make a pretty concerted effort to enhance our Medicaid provider rates, our health care system and everybody that depends on it is going to suffer.”

Bradley’s amendment would also give the Department of Health and Human Services more flexibility than the House did in deciding how to target increases to various providers. 

Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, was the lone no vote. She noted that the committee also cut other Medicaid funding by more than $100 million on Tuesday. 

“I’m really concerned about this,” she said. “We do have the revenues to do it in the next biennium, and I would hope we would have the will to continue with this important workforce piece.”

The Senate Finance Committee’s proposed budget will go before the full Senate next, and then to the House, which can agree or challenge Senate changes. 

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]