The two-year state operating budget (HB 110) for FY 2022-2023 recently came to a close. Both the Senate and House convened the Conference Committee, which worked to hash out the differences between the House and Senate on the budget bill, and as physicians provided feedback on a list of health care-related items for consideration.
The Conference Committee finalized the state budget plan based on the contents of the bills passed in each legislative chamber, and the legislature approved the bill just short of their June 30 deadline. Late Monday night, the final version of HB 110 passed in the Senate (by a vote of 32-1), and House (by a vote of 82-13).
As of very early Thursday morning, Governor DeWine had signed the budget bill into law, issuing 14 line-item vetoes striking out specific provisions from the budget at the time of signing.
The $75 billion budget contains:
A state education reform package, and funding support for Ohio higher education, including STEMM and workforce training programs.
A 3% personal income tax cut.
A commitment of $250 million in support grants for broadband Internet connectivity.
Investments in long-term and nursing home care, including home and community-based care.
$170 million for the H2Ohio initiative, a water quality plan put in place by the governor to combat water contaminants and algal blooms, and to make improvements to Ohio’s wastewater infrastructure.
Lawmakers made changes on several items with the substitute versions of the bill. A provision that would have scrapped and restarted the rebid process of the Medicaid managed care system was eliminated. Additionally, legislators retained language that will extend Medicaid coverage of new mothers from 60 days after birth to up to 1 year postpartum.
Legislators also kept language in the bill that will allow for Medicaid coverage of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products to help Ohioans quit use of tobacco, as well as language that will require insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to make certain drug data disclosures to patients and their health care providers.
The physician community, as well as others, also expressed to legislators concerns about a “medical conscience” clause included in the budget bill. Despite efforts, the problematic language stayed in the bill. Work will continue with affected parties as well as the Ohio Department of Insurance to assess the impact the language will have in Ohio.