HCA submits 2021-23 operating budget proposal

Tue, 09/15/2020

On September 15, HCA submitted our budget proposal to the governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM). This proposal is for the 2021-23 state operating budget.

HCA’s proposal includes several requests, such as:

  • Routine requests for adjustments related to caseload and utilization.
  • A request on behalf of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Coalition to procure and implement a Master Person Index (MPI) solution. The MPI will un-duplicate clients across HHS programs, ensuring that organizations are enrolling and assigning benefits to the right client. In addition, the MPI will support broader system-to-system interoperability.
  • A request for funding for the PEBB and SEBB programs to support:
    • Enrollment-driven increases in third party administrative costs.
    • Ongoing support for the PEBB My Account project.
    • Administrative functions that focus on open enrollment requirements and overall customer support.
  • A request to extend the Medicaid Transformation Project for an additional year, through December 2022. This would be at no additional cost to the state.   

15 percent reduction options

Because Washington is facing a significant revenue shortfall in the 2021-23 biennium, state agencies also were directed to identify options to reduce their state general fund spend by 15 percent. HCA's reduction options are included in our budget proposal.

This does not necessarily mean the reduction will be included in the Governor’s budget proposal. We are limited in our ability to make reductions, as many Apple Health (Medicaid) services are federally required for states that choose to participate in the Medicaid program. To hit the 15 percent reduction targets, HCA must propose almost all non-mandatory benefits or eligibility groups as well as several other programs.

As HCA Director Sue Birch shared in a note to stakeholders, “HCA’s options represent painful cuts to programs and services that none of us want to take. Our priority when considering budget reductions is to preserve access to affordable health care services for the most vulnerable. HCA has frozen hiring, contracts and equipment purchases, and has worked to delay or reduce expenditures to the extent possible.”

What’s next?

Governor Inslee and his team will review all agency proposals and release the Governor’s proposed budget in December. The Legislature writes the 2021-23 state operating budget during the 2021 session, which will begin in January.