State revenues have returned to pre-recession levels, according to a new study, but Medicaid spending has soared and state lawmakers are still struggling to balance their budgets and pay for other critical programs like education. The study, conducted by the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), found that Medicaid spending rose 20 percent this year and 23 percent in 2011. The report explains that federal spending on Medicaid fell eight percent this year as stimulus funds that helped pay for the health care program for the poor are no longer available.
Medicaid enrollment increased by 5.1 percent during fiscal 2011 and 3.3 percent in the current fiscal year. Enrollments are projected to climb an additional 3.6 percent next year. The increases, coupled with the rising cost of providing medical care, are overwhelming the modest revenue increases that many states are currently experiencing.
Medicaid costs have been escalating for a decade. The report found that: “Over the past 10 years, the growth in state spending on Medicaid has exceeded the growth in all other categories of spending, and has been twice as much as the growth in education spending.” NGA Executive Director Dan Crippen explained in a press announcement: “States have undertaken numerous actions to contain Medicaid costs, including reducing provider payments, cutting prescription drug benefits, limiting benefits, reforming delivery systems, expanding managed care and enhancing program integrity efforts. These efforts alone, however, cannot stop the growth of Medicaid.”
The following states are currently in regular session: California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Senate. U.S. Congress and the District of Columbia Council are also in session.
Rhode Island adjourned on June 13.
South Carolina ended regular session work on June 7, however, the sine die adjournment date has been extended and lawmakers are expected to reconvene on June 19 to consider matters relating to vetoes, appropriations bills, appointments, resolutions or elections, if necessary. The session would be required to adjourn sine die no later than June 21.
Connecticut lawmakers held a one-day special session on June 12, to complete work on two wide-ranging budget bills. The assembly is expected to reconvene for a veto session on June 24.
Maryland is expected to reconvene for a second special session, possibly the week of July 9, to consider legislation to expand gambling and relating to liability for pit bull behavior and ownership.
Utah may reconvene for a special session to consider legislation relating to high school assessment tests.
Illinois is expected to reconvene for a veto session November 27, 28, 29 and December 4, 5 and 6.
The following states are in recess and are expected to reconvene on the dates provided: New Hampshire Senate (call of the Chair); Pennsylvania House (June 18); New Hampshire House (June 27) and Michigan (July 18).
Delaware is expected to adjourn on June 30.
Although New York’s regular session technically ends on January 8, 2013, the legislature is expected to wrap up business on June 21. However, lawmakers can be called back to Albany at any time.
The following governors have bill signing deadlines for regular session legislation on the dates provided: Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal (June 24); Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy (June 30); Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie (July 8); Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon (July 14); Alaska Republican Gov. Sean Parnell (July 26) and Rhode Island Governor Chafee (July 31).
The following governors have bill signing deadlines for special session legislation: Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley (June 15); Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy (June 27) and Alaska Republican Gov. Sean Parnell (August 1).
The following governors had bill signing deadlines: Colorado Governor Hickenlooper (June 8); Oklahoma Governor Fallin (June 9); Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback (June 12) and Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell for special session legislation (June 14).
Nevada is scheduled to hold 2011-2012 interim meetings. Interim information for North Dakota is available here. Montana is also expected to hold interim meetings, as is Texas in both House and Senate committees.
Special and Primary Elections
The following states held primary elections on June 12: Maine for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and state legislature; Nevada for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and state legislature; North Dakota for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state legislature and constitutional officers; South Carolina for the U.S. House and state legislature and Virginia for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Arizona held a special election on June 12 to fill the state’s 8th Congressional District seat left vacant with the resignation of Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords. Ron Barber, a former aide to Representative Giffords, beat Republican Jesse Kelly and will serve out the remainder of Gifford’s term. Both Barber and Kelly have indicated that they will compete in November’s general election to serve a full term, reports Politico.
The following states are expected to hold primary elections on June 26: Colorado for the U.S. House and state legislature; New York for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate; Oklahoma for the U.S. House and state legislature and Utah for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state legislature and constitutional officers.