Governor Scott is Unhappy with Budget and Vows Veto

Legislators passed the FY2019 budget and tax bills with little debate or protest except from the Scott Administration, who is demanding that $34 million in one-time funding be used to buy down a projected property tax increase. Lawmakers responded to the impasse by refusing to schedule a veto-session, which forces the Governor to call a special session. A special session is different than a veto-session because there are no veto overrides and bills that did not pass before adjournment can be taken up for action. Upon the fall of the gavel, VMS was focused on the outcome of the budget and other important healthcare-related bills. The FY19 Budget that passed the House and Senate, but could change during the special session, includes full restoration of the AHEC loan repayment program and a two-thirds restoration ($2.2 million) for primary care case management payments. Lawmakers directed the PCCM funding to be added to the per member per month payment received by Blueprint for Health practices. The section in H.912 that would have required at least one member of the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) to be a health care professional was removed prior to final passage on the House floor.  House Healthcare Committee Chair Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Hinesburg, announced there were "too many unanswered questions" to pass the requirement at this time. This action came after the Senate had voted to disqualify any applicant affiliated with an entity regulated by the GMCB.  VMS has indicated that the organization will continue to pursue legislation to require a health care professional on the Board. S.216 as passed the Senate contained sections that would have expanded use of medical marijuana to any condition and prohibited physicians from disqualifying a patient from medical treatments, including organ transplant, based solely on the patient’s use of medical marijuana. The bill was effectively stalled in the House Human Services Committee.  While the language was briefly revived by the Senate and attached to another bill, the House continued to hold the line in its opposition, and this language ultimately did not pass. The special session is scheduled to take place Wednesday, May 23 - Friday May 25.

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