In February 2013, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D-CT) released a legislative proposal called Next Generation Connecticut aimed at restoring Connecticut’s power as a leader in innovation. The program is directed toward comprehensively expanding the University of Connecticut system, with a $1.5 billion investment in three campuses. With $137 million in state funds, the initiative aims to increase enrollment by 6,580 students and 259 faculty members to the Storrs and Stamford campuses. In addition, the Greater Hartford campus will be relocated to a more accessible location to strengthen business partnerships for internship opportunities and workforce development.
According to Gov. Malloy, “data shows that from 2000 to 2010, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs, and unemployment in the STEM fields are 4.4% lower.” As a result, the governor’s plan expands the total number of STEM graduates by 47%. Additionally, fifty new STEM doctoral fellowships will be created. Next Generation Connecticut hopes to attract $270 million in research dollars, $527 million in new business, and is expected to create 4,050 permanent jobs over the next ten years.
On October 21, Gov. Malloy visited UConn’s main campus for a ceremonial signing of S.B. 840, Next Generation Connecticut, which passed the Connecticut General Assembly with bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Malloy on June 19, 2013.
New Hampshire legislators are meeting to discuss what many hope will be a bipartisan agreement to expand Medicaid after the state’s Executive Council approved, by a 4-1 vote, Gov. Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) request to call a special session on the issue. After winning approval for the special session, the governor scheduled the session for November 7-21.
As you recall, the legislature tried to expand Medicaid, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, earlier this year during its regular session; however, members could not come to an agreement. Instead, a bipartisan panel was established, which heard testimony from state and national experts over the span of approximately four months. The panel recommended that New Hampshire expand Medicaid to take advantage of $2.5 billion in promised federal funding.
“With $2.5 billion in federal funds available to expand health coverage for up to 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters, we have a significant opportunity to improve the health and financial well-being of our families, strengthen our economy, and improve our state’s financial future,” said Gov. Hassan.
The debate over the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio has been long and contentious. As you recall, in the two-year state budget that lawmakers passed in June, Republicans inserted a provision that would have barred Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) later vetoed the item. However, recently Gov. Kasich appealed to a little known panel, the Controlling Board, which includes the state budget director and six senior members of the legislature appointed by both parties, to bypass the full state legislature in order to pass Medicaid expansion. Gov. Kasich won his appeal and on October 21, the Controlling Board, by a 5-2 vote (see agenda item #40), accepted more than $2 billion in additional Medicaid funds from the federal government, allowing the state to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to an estimated 275,000 low-income individuals. However, several Republicans have now filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Ohio arguing that the Controlling Board acted in violation of the state legislature. The Supreme Court of Ohio has agreed to an expedited briefing schedule in an effort to speed up the lawsuit in anticipation of Medicaid expansion beginning January 1.
Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) signed H.B. 108 on October 16, reauthorizing the state’s health insurance program for children and eliminating a six-month waiting period before they can join. The law changes the expiration date for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from December 31, 2013, to December 31, 2015. Under the law, $8.5 million from the 2013-14 budget will fund the addition of roughly 9,000 children to the program and pay for an enrollment and outreach campaign.
However, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-PA) said the CHIP extension would be moot—and millions of dollars could be saved if Pennsylvania complied with the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion provision and allowed low-income children to be shifted to Medicaid. Sen. Hughes has said that he is prepared to fight the General Assembly and Corbett administration on the issue of Medicaid expansion. Meanwhile, the Corbett administration is seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to keep the state’s children on CHIP.