Audio Update from Wednesday’s budget meeting: Hybrid, Health care, and H.I.R.E

Update from Wednesday’s budget meeting: Hybrid, Health care, and H.I.R.E

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The State budget panel met Wednesday to review numerous fiscal issues facing the state. The panel, comprised of members of the General Assembly and the State Budget Office, heard reports on the impact of national health care reform on Indiana, the  Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) hybrid program, and the Helping Indiana Restart Employment (H.I.R.E) Program.

Impact of the Congressional Affordable Health care for America Act in Indiana:

Milliman, FSSA‘s contracted Medicaid actuary, testified before the Budget Committee about the potential impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health care for America Act on Indiana’s state budget. Milliman provided a worst-case scenario, projecting the maximum cost to the state to be $3.6 billion  from State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2014 through SFY 2020. Milliman’s estimate assumes 100% participation – in other words, that every eligible Hoosier, even those already insured, would switch to Medicaid.

The panel did not address the benefits Hoosiers will receive from the new legislation.  Benefits include an expansion of health care access for 700,000 people in Indiana and new guidelines for the regulation of insurance companies.

Budget Committee member State Senator John Broden (D-South Bend) pointed out that the main focus of the new reform should not solely be based on the cost of the program, but also the opportunity for hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers.  Broden stated:

We’re potentially expanding coverage to Hoosiers at 10% of the cost.  If anyone thinks that we would have more people insured through the private system had Congress not acted, they’re living in a dream world.

Listen to Senator Broden’s full statement from committee:

Milliman also indicated that the state would realize cost savings of about $246 million in the areas of children’s health care, breast and cervical cancer programs, and health care for pregnant women.

FSSA Modernization Review:

FSSA Secretary Anne Murphy addressed the Budget Committee regarding the expansion of the hybrid pilot program to the Vigo Region in June.  The hybrid is a new version of the state’s system for public assistance eligibility determination and was introduced as a fix to the state’s failed privatized call center system that took away face-to-face interaction with caseworkers.  The pilot program originated in the Vanderburgh Region, which includes Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties and cost the state $10 million from December 2009 through March 2010.

Yesterday, the administration announced its goal to expand to the Vigo Region in June, encompassing Clay, Fountain, Greene, Monroe, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warren counties.  According to FSSA, the roll-out to the Vigo Region will likely cost the state an additional $10 million. Secretary Murphy indicated that similar costs would be incurred each time a new region switches to the hybrid system.

In August or September of 2010, FSSA hopes to expand the hybrid program into the Clark and Allen Regions, which would include Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Floyd, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Lawrence, Martin, Ohio, Orange, Ripley, Scott, Switzerland, Washington, Adams, Allen, Dekalb, Huntington,
Jay, Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley counties.

In a response to a question posed by a Budget Committee member at the end of the testimony, Secretary Murphy stated that FSSA will not be paying any further claims from IBM.  Since the termination of the state’s 10-year contract with the company, IBM has submitted claims totaling $125 million dollars.  The state and IBM filed suit against each other today. In it’s filing, IBM seeks $50 million from the state, however it is unclear how much has been already paid in the lawsuit.

Read more in the news:

Indy Star

Louisville Courrier-Journal

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette

H.I.R.E Program:

The panel also reviewed the Helping Indiana Restart Employment (H.I.R.E) Program which aims to provide emergency funding to subsidize private and public employers by encouraging the creation of new jobs for unemployed Hoosiers. These emergency funds are available through the TANF Emergency Fund established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program was authorized by the General Assembly in Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 23 and uses one-time federal stimulus funds that are still available to the state and would otherwise be left unused. The program, based on the Mississippi STEPs program, has been implemented in 20 other states and could potentially put 10,000 Hoosiers back to work. A speedy implementation of the program is important because federal funds are set to expire on September 30.

There is a bill moving through Congress that would extend the program for an additional year.

On May 20th, legislators and staff will meet to discuss the program and plan for its implementation. A representative from the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) will attend the meeting to provide technical assistance and explain how other states have benefited from the program.

See a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for more examples from other states.

Also on the agenda:

  1. Arts Commission Grant Process
  2. Medical School Expansion
  3. State Vehicle Report
  4. Gary Trauma Hospital
  5. HIRE Program Status
  6. FSSA Eligibility Modernization Review
  7. National Health Care – Indiana Impact
  8. Agency Projects
  9. University Projects