CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In order to balance the 2012-13 state budget, state officials ended up shorting Medicaid by $109 million.
State Budget Director Mike McKown told legislators there are no cash-flow problems in Medicaid at the moment, but the $109 million of funding will need to be restored -- particularly as the federal health insurance program expands to cover working-class West Virginians.
He said the underfunding of Medicaid occurred for a number of reasons, intentional and unintended:
<z6b-1f"ZapfDingbats">n<f$z$b$> By law, the first $50 million of unappropriated surplus from the state Excess Lottery Fund is to go to Medicaid. With competition from casinos in Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania, that account ended the 2013 budget year on June 30 with only a $29 million surplus.
<z6b-1f"ZapfDingbats">n<f$z$b$> Legislators passed a supplemental appropriation bill in April to transfer $67 million of Lottery revenues to Medicaid, but inadvertently made the bill effective 90 days from passage -- which invalidated it, since the transfer would have been pushed into the new budget year.
<z6b-1f"ZapfDingbats">n<f$z$b$> In order to avoid finishing the 2013 budget year with a deficit, which is prohibited under the state Constitution, the governor cut out an additional $17 million of Medicaid funding just prior to June 30.
Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss stressed that the $17 million is not a permanent funding cut.
"It was a maneuver that allowed us to assure the budget was balanced for the last fiscal year," he said.