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Fiscal bill amended to increase Medicaid transparency. But delay to proposed cuts denied

By Abigail Ruhman, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Politics
Rep. Greg Porter’s (D-Indianapolis) amendment to SB 256 would have delayed the proposed shift away from attendant care until July 1, 2025. The committee voted against the amendment. (Abigail Ruhman/IPB News)

Policymakers and families of medically complex children have been asking for a pause on the attendant care program cut since it was announced in January, following the $1 billion Medicaid shortfall. A House committee voted Tuesday against an amendment that would have postponed the controversial cut.

Rep. Greg Porter’s (D-Indianapolis) amendment to SB 256 would have delayed the proposed shift away from attendant care until July 1, 2025. But the program hasn’t been in compliance with federal Medicaid guidelines since 2017. And Rep. Jeffery Thompson (R-Lizton), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said delaying the cuts could cost the state more in the long run.

Some lawmakers raised concerns about how families would be affected by the cut to the program. Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said he’s “bothered” by the uncertainty of what’s going to happen to families during the transition away from attendant care.

“I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this situation, frankly,” DeLaney said. “I think this proposal has its limitations, but it takes care of that problem.”

Republicans on the committee voted against the amendment, with several lawmakers citing the concern about being out of compliance.

The committee did approve an amendment to SB 256 that would increase reporting requirements for FSSA.

The amendment requires the agency to present two reports to the State Budget Committee every year. The reports would detail how it plans to monitor Medicaid expenses and how it will share data with legislators. The amendment would also have FSSA study the feasibility of a dashboard that includes monthly reports on Medicaid expenditures and enrollment.

READ MORE: FSSA: More than 1,600 children with disabilities affected by proposed attendant care cut

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Budget Subcommittee Chair Jack Jordan (R-Bremen) said he likes adding more transparency to the reports, but sees a broader Medicaid issue.

“We have a policy issue that I’m assuming we’ll deal with and wrestle with, maybe not this session, but next session,” Jordan said.

DeLaney said the added transparency would provide context around future Medicaid issues, but wouldn’t address questions about the recent shortfall. Republican lawmakers said they believe the amendment does.

The committee approved several other amendments to the bill and it now heads to the full House for consideration.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.