In this week’s Lansing Update:
Michigan’s vulnerable population would see greater program funding under a 2010–11 Department of Community Health (DCH) spending plan that passed the House of Representatives this week. The House also attempted to pass next year’s Higher Education budget, but efforts stalled as the pro-life majority sought to ensure transparency measures from research institutions that engage in destructive human embryo research.
The House version of the DCH budget differs considerably from the Senate passed version, meaning the final budget will be determined by a yet-to-be-assembled conference committee. The House version differs from the Senate in that:
- It does not cut Medicaid reimbursement to physicians by 4%,
- 19 and 20 year olds would continue to receive Medicaid benefits,
- Funding for community mental health non-Medicaid services would continue,
- Funding for programs that address substance abuse treatment and prevention would also remain.
Both the House and Senate versions restore funding to adult Medicaid dental and podiatric services that was eliminated by the governor in a budget cutting executive order from two years ago. Overall, the House plans to spend some $2.02 billion in state general funds on the department, compared to the Senate’s $1.92 billion and the executive’s recommendation of $2.016 billion. With federal funding, the House DCH budget totals $13.7 billion.
While the Senate has passed spending plans for all 15 state departmental budgets, the House awaits votes on the departments of Human Services, Corrections, Education, Transportation and Higher Education. A planned vote on the Higher Education budget stalled after pro-life members sought to include an amendment that would require state-funded institutions that engage in destructive human embryo research report how many human embryos they have in storage and how many have been destroyed. The Senate version includes the amendment but the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education sought to ensure that a similar amendment was defeated in his committee.
The Legislature will work on the budget through June, and then possibly recess until after the August primary election. It remains to be seen whether or not the budget will be completed before the campaign season.