Lawmakers reviewing human resources budgets voted unanimously Wednesday to restore more than $300 million to the Medicaid budgets.
The money erases the 6 percent cuts to provider reimbursements taken during the pandemic.
That $300 million made up nearly a third of the total $1 billion in cuts approved in last summer’s special session to cover the revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic.
The decision was made possible after the Economic Forum raised total projected revenues by $909 million for the rest of this fiscal year and the coming two-year cycle.
With that in hand, the governor’s finance office was able to issue a budget amendment reversing the cuts and returning provider payments to where they were before the pandemic hit.
“I usually don’t like getting budget amendments this late but this is a good one,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.
He was joined by several other members of the subcommittee including chair Danielle Monroe-Moreno and Maggie Carlton, both D-Las Vegas, who said they were happy the subcommittee was able to put the money back in the Medicaid budget.
A half dozen representatives of medical and hospital groups around the state also thanked lawmakers for restoring the funding, including Bill Welch of the Nevada Hospital Association who said, ”this is a great day.” Representatives from the nurses association and even the Chamber of Commerce praised the decision.
Gov. Steve Sisolak, who urged lawmakers to make the decision, said medical providers have endured untold stress for the past year.
“Restoring the provider reimbursement rate cuts will help these small businesses and hospitals that have done so much to keep hard-working Nevadans’ health during this pandemic,” he said.
Medicaid is the state’s largest budget, recommended to total $10.6 billion in the coming biennium. Of that total, the majority is federal funding projected at $7.4 billion but the state also has a significant investment, recommended at just over $2 billion in the coming two years.
The Medicaid caseload has expanded during and because of the pandemic and is projected to exceed 750,000 Nevadans next year.