Date: 01/22/2009

JBC Briefing


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

01:39 PM -- JBC Briefing

Representative Ferrandino began the briefing by the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to the Joint Health and Human Services committee. A handout was distributed to the committee (Attachment A). He discussed the state's revenue shortfall, noting that over $600 million must be cut from the current fiscal year budget. He discussed the FY 2009-10 budget request for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. He gave an overview of the funding sources for the department and described the responsibilities of the department. He drew the committee's attention to page 2 of the handout, which illustrates the eligibility levels for state health programs. He discussed the caseloads for various health care programs. He noted that enrollment in the Children's Basic Health Plan is declining, in part because more of the children previously eligible for the program are now eligible for Medicaid. In addition, new eligibility verification requirements have caused a decline in the enrollment of the program. He described some of the department's budgetary decision items. Representative Ferrandino responded to questions from Representative Gerou regarding increases in the Medicaid caseload. Representative Ferrandino responded to questions from Senator Lundberg regarding anticipated growth in the General Fund in FY 2009-10 and 2010-11 and revenue estimates from the Governor's Office and the Legislative Council Staff. Representative Kefalas asked how the state could cover the increase in Medicaid caseload, given the state's declining revenues. Representative Ferrandino discussed possible federal dollars that may come to the state as part of a federal stimulus package. Representative Ferrandino responded to questions from Senator Morse regarding whether an increase in federal matching dollars for Medicaid would help the state reach the allowable 6 percent limit on appropriations.


02:00 PM

Representative Ferrandino began his overview of the budget of the Department of Human Services, describing the funding sources for the department. He emphasized that the department receives a significant amount of reappropriated funds, most of which are transfers from the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. He stated that the department is complex and administers services directly and through contracts with private providers, as well as through local agencies. He discussed some of the cost drivers within the department, including services for individuals with developmental disabilities and child welfare services. Representative Gerou asked why services for individuals with developmental disabilities were "unbundled" in recent years.

02:07 PM

Representative Ferrandino began his overview of the budget of Public Health and Environment, noting that the department receives limited General Funding. A large amount of the department's budget is comprised of federal funds. He described the major activities of the department. He highlighted two of the department's decision items. He stated that the first request concerns funding for a public health lab in Lowry. The second item concerns state funding for emergency preparedness, which will allow the state to access federal moneys on emergency preparedness activities.

02:12 PM

Representative Ferrandino noted that the handout (Attachment A) contains a summary of the budget cuts proposed by the governor for all three departments. Representative Kerr asked how the state can prioritize what cuts are made and the services that should be provided by the government. Various members commented on where the budget cuts should be made and the process for determining the cuts. Senator Schultheis asked for clarification regarding the timing of the budget cuts. Senator Lundberg commented on the possibility that the March revenue forecast may require further cuts to the state's FY 2008-09 budget. Senator Carroll asked if there was an opportunity to find administrative efficiencies that may prevent programmatic cuts.