2019–2020 State Budget Retains Tobacco Settlement Fund Payments for Hospitals; Important Health Care Bills on Way to Governor
June 28, 2019
Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly agreed to an almost $34 billion budget for the 2019–2020 state fiscal year. Of importance to hospitals and their patients and communities, the budget ensures programs funded from the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) continue to be fully funded. This includes support for hospitals to care for vulnerable patients through uncompensated care or extraordinary expense payments, as well as funds for CURE grants supporting health research.
The budget plan fully funds Medicaid supplemental budget lines for trauma centers and obstetric and neonatal intensive care units. Medicaid supplemental lines for burn units and the commonwealth’s critical access hospitals were given a slight increase to account for additional hospitals or units becoming part of the system during the 2019–2020 fiscal year.
In addition to budget action, the legislature approved and sent to the Governor legislation, House Bill 3, which creates the Health Insurance Exchange Authority to operate a state-based health insurance exchange for individual market plans. During May, HAP and Pennsylvania Insurance Department Commissioner Jessica Altman, testified in support of the concept of a state-based exchange.
The General Assembly also passed House Bill 786, sponsored by Representative Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), which updates the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act providing for new requirements for developing new Level I and II trauma centers in Pennsylvania. The bill redistributes any unspent Level III funding to help encourage the development of Level IV centers.
The state budget and related legislation awaits Governor Wolf's signature.
For additional information, contact Warren Kampf, HAP’s senior vice president, advocacy and external affairs, or Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.