Counties: Help Local Health Departments “Keep Pace”

Core Funding from the State to local health departments has experienced significant cuts in the last 10 years, requiring local jurisdictions to fund far more than the required matching of State funds to ensure that critical community health services are being provided.

House Bill 1620 alters the formula for Core Funding to an index that measures medical care inflation instead of general inflation. This accounts for the fact that medical care inflation tends to rise faster than general inflation. MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of HB 1620, “Local Health Services Funding – Modifications” before the House Appropriations Committee on February 27, 2018. This measure begins to restore funding to local health departments from the State and starts on the path to full restoration of Core Funding.

From MACo Testimony:

HB 1620 would change the inflationary index within the statutory Core Funding formula from a general cost-of-living adjustment (based on the generic Consumer Price Index) to a more relevant measure for medical costs, also maintained by the US Department of Labor. The change begins in fiscal year 2020, and therefore avoids any effect on the current year’s budget. As medical inflation has historically exceeded general inflation, this change would better reflect and account for increased costs of medical care the LHDs provide as well as ensure that the buying power of state core funding remains as strong as intended.

While ideally, local governments would seek to restore local health funding to historic levels, HB 1620’s altering of the inflationary index recognizes the growing costs of medical care being shouldered by the LHDs and leads the state one reasonable step in the right direction.”

For more information on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.

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