We do want to thank our Western Slope legislators on the state’s Joint Budget Committee, particularly JBC Chair Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, and Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, for their tireless efforts to ensure the state budget reflects our communities’ priorities, particularly with the introduction of House Bill 22-1329, the state’s budget bill or “long bill,” on behalf of our hospitals.
With health care, education, housing, child care, transportation, workforce issues, and more, the state budget has the unusual challenge of having excess finances this year, courtesy of billions in federal COVID-19 relief funding. However, figuring out how to wisely and sustainably invest one-time monies in important state goals takes an enormous amount of time, work, and attention. Senator Rankin and Representative McCluskie have both demonstrated their abilities to effectively lead difficult budget debates.
This year, it was especially important for our institutions to ask tough questions about the state’s plans to change Medicaid payments to hospitals and other community providers. These contributions are critical for hospitals to continue to provide care in our communities, and when coupled with other hospitals, they are also required to ensure access to important health care across the Western Slope and Colorado.
Finally, thanks to the leadership of Rep. McCluskie and Sen. Rankin, the state’s Medicaid program will receive sufficient funding in the coming year’s budget to develop new payment models and meaningfully engage health care providers and other stakeholders for input, but it will not give the state carte blanche to change future Medicaid payments as they see fit.
While we appreciate the JBC’s efforts on this issue as a whole, we’re grateful to have Rep. McCluskie and Sen. Rankin defending our Western Slope views in Denver. Again, thank you to these leaders, and we urge the legislature to pass the lengthy bill in order to support our state’s wise healthcare investments.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed two executive orders to advance gender equality, visit this blog post to learn more about these executive orders and what they meant.