Legislative session underway with COVID-19 limitations in placeThe 130th Maine State Legislature has begun work, although it is a virtual session for the most part. Yesterday and today, the full House and Senate are meeting in a socially distanced setting at the Augusta Civic Center. However, all other business, including committee hearings, have been held via Zoom up until now. After their budget work is concluded (hopefully today) the legislature will return to their COVID-19 protocols.
One of the first orders of business was to adopt a supplemental budget that balances state spending with revenues that have been impacted by the pandemic. As of midday today, this mission is still not accomplished. For the most part, long term care was not targeted for budget cuts in the Governor's proposal. An exception was that DHHS proposed a partial elimination of bed hold payments to nursing homes. Our members may have noticed this reduction when it first appeared in the fall. MHCA testified in opposition to the cut and we are pleased to report that the Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee both issued unanimous recommendations opposing the cut. A final vote on the entire supplemental budget will be needed to put our issue to rest, but we are encouraged by the bipartisan support we received.
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