June is budget season at the state Capitol. Lawmakers have a constitutional deadline of June 30 to pass a spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) track many elements of the budget debate, especially those line items that assist the poor.
The Catholic health care ministry has a long history of providing health care services to the Commonwealth’s citizens, in particular, to the poor, the frail elderly and the marginalized. With such a mission, PCHA’s member hospitals and nursing homes care for a high percentage of Medical Assistance qualified patients. However, inadequate medical assistance reimbursement over the past several years as contributed to crippling financial burdens on health care providers.
House Bill 1437, the budget blueprint recently passed by the Pennsylvania House, maintains medical assistance payments for hospitals, trauma centers and others at current-year levels and add-on payments for nursing facilities that have a high level of MA residents.
Sufficient dollars are necessary to ensure continued access to high quality services for vulnerable individuals in our communities, and guarantee that health care for those with the greatest need is not curtailed or eliminated.