LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A big chunk of revenue returning to the state could go to health care after a vote in the Nevada Legislature to restore more than $301 million in funding to Medicaid.
Some cuts that had been put in place as Nevada adjusted budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic “no longer appear necessary,” according to a news release from Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office in Carson City on Wednesday.
Forecasts from the Nevada Economic Forum last week showed the state would have $586 million available to spend as tax revenues came back quicker than expected.
The vote to restore Medicaid rates was held by the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittees on Human Services. The budget amendment does not become final until enacted by the full Legislature and the governor.
The vote to restore Medicaid reimbursement funding would bring back $125 million this fiscal year and $176 million between 2021 and 2023.
“Encouraging news from the Economic Forum shows that the state is now projected to have enough revenue to avoid the anticipated cuts,” Sisolak said.
“Medical providers have been on the front lines of the pandemic for more than a year, enduring untold stress, both financial and emotional. Restoring provider reimbursement rate cuts will help these small businesses and hospitals that have done so much to keep hard-working Nevadans healthy during this pandemic,” he said.
According to the Governor’s Office, lawmakers approved reducing reimbursements to providers by 6% for services during July’s Special Session of the Nevada Legislature. That would trigger decreased federal funds for the Nevada Medicaid program. The reduced reimbursements pose financial challenges to medical providers including hospitals, laboratory and specialty clinics. More than 800,000 Nevadans rely on these services from Medicaid.
Medicaid requires a federal-state funding partnership and changes to funding require approval from the federal agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The approval process led to long delays and would have required retroactive cuts to medical providers to realize budgetary savings that are no longer necessary.