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Good News On Health Safety Net

Last night the Senate adopted a redrafted amendment by Senator Lewis which puts the eligibility cuts in the Health Safety Net off until next April at the earliest.  Here is the amendment language.

Messrs. Lewis, Keenan, Moore and Brady, Ms. L'Italien, Messrs. Donnelly, Eldridge, Rush, Barrett, Montigny, Humason, Timilty, McGee, Boncore, Lesser and deMacedo moved that the proposed new text be amended by inserting after section 77 the following section:-

SECTION 77A. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, through April 1, 2017, the health safety net office shall maintain eligibility criteria for the health safety net at the level in effect as of March 1, 2016. The health safety net office shall continue to provide services to persons whose income is below: (i) 400 per cent of the federal poverty level and who are otherwise eligible for reimbursement and who shall continue to be reimbursable pursuant to this section; and (ii) 200 per cent of the federal poverty level and who are otherwise eligible for reimbursement and who shall continue to be reimbursable pursuant to this section without a cost sharing burden to the patient. A hospital or community health center providing a service otherwise eligible for reimbursement by the health safety net shall be reimbursed if the service is provided up to 6 months before the date on which the application for reimbursement is submitted to the health safety net office.”.

The amendment doesn't restore the additional $15 million sought, but Senate Ways and Means, like the House, did appropriate $15 million to the HSN above what the Governor included in House 2.

The amendment will have to be reconciled with the House version which did not include the moratorium on benefit cuts.  This will occur when the House and Senate appoint their respective representatives to the budget conference committee.

Meanwhile the eligibility cuts are slated to go into effect on June 1st.  Advocates will try to convince the Administration to hold off on the cuts until after the budget conference committee finishes its work.

Stay tuned for action alerts on the budget conference committee.