Legislative Updates & Schedule
The Michigan House of Representatives plans to return to session on September 21 and September 28. The Michigan Senate plans to return to session on September 20 and 28.
After the election, the Legislature will return in late November for the final push of the 2021-2022 legislative session, known as “lame duck”. Major issues, such as the fate of behavioral health reform, could be on the negotiating table at the end of the year.
Speculation remains as to whether the Michigan House, Senate and the Whitmer administration can come to agreement on a broader tax relief or spending package ahead of the November general election or if such a debate could play out during the post-election, lame duck session.
What is more likely, at the very least, is a close of books supplemental appropriations measure, with some technical adjustments to close out the FY 22 fiscal year. Indeed, the administration issued a supplemental request to the Legislature on September 7 outlining its proposed close of books adjustments.
More information will become available regarding any prospects for imminent budget activity once lawmakers return to Lansing at the end of September.
House Bill 6355, Preadmission Screening
Introduced by Representative Graham Filler (R-Greenbush Township), House Bill 6355 puts in place time limits that a preadmission screening unit has to assess an individual being considered for admission to an inpatient psychiatric hospital, and expands who may do the assessment.
Specifically, the bill would require that a preadmission screening unit assess an individual within three hours after being notified to do an assessment. If the preadmission screening unit is unable to complete the assessment the bill allows for the assessment to be done by a clinically qualified individual for the a) hospital, b) community mental health services program, c) a crisis stabilization unit, or d) any other entity under contract to perform assessment and screening. Regardless of who conducts the assessment, the preadmission screening unit is responsible for the costs of performing any assessment.
Under the bill the assessment could be performed via telehealth.
The House Health Policy Committee is expected to take testimony on the bill on Thursday, September 22. No vote is expected.
Court of Appeals Rules No-Fault Changes Not Retroactive
The approximately 17,000 who saw their catastrophic care coverage severely limited following the enactment of the 2019 auto no-fault law had a major win on August 25 when the Court of Appeals ruled that the retroactive application of the reform violated the Contracts Clause in the Michigan Constitution.
In the opinion for Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, issued by Judges Douglas Shapiro and Sima Patel, the judges found that the Legislature failed to clearly specify that the law was to apply retroactively. Those who were injured prior to the new law, under their previous insurance contracts, were guaranteed medical expense care and reimbursement at levels set in those contracts.
Changes in the auto no-fault law, which went into effect in July of 2021, limited reimbursement for family-provided attendant care to 56 hours a week. It also capped a health care provider’s reimbursement for services not covered by Medicare by 45 percent of the fees set in January 2019.
Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company was remanded to the Ingham Circuit Court where prospective coverage could be considered. An attorney for the insurance company has said they plan to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.
MDHHS Seeks to Expand Mobile Response Teams to Help Children Experiencing Crisis
On September 12, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released a request for proposals for a newly created MI Kids Now Mobile Response Grant Program. Eligible applicants must be community mental health services programs.
Services will be available to youth who are experiencing circumstances that may impact their ability to function within family, school or childcare or community settings, regardless of current participation in or eligibility for CMH programs. More information can be found here.
November General Election Ballot Measures Update
During an uncharacteristically contentious meeting on Wednesday, August 31, the Board of State Canvassers failed to approve the Promote the Vote 2022 and Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiatives. The move temporarily blocked the measures from being placed on the November general election ballot.
Both proposals met the requisite signature requirements to qualify for the ballot, however, two Republican members of the board cited concerns regarding the formatting and clarity of the proposals’ language. The Board ultimately deadlocked in a 2 to 2 vote, prompting appeals from the ballot proposals supporters to the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene.
On Thursday, September 8, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 2 opinion that the actions of the Board if State Canvassers were not within its purview, among other things, and it was the duty of the Board to certify the two constitutional ballot initiatives for the November ballot.
In response to the Supreme Court decision, the Board unanimously approved the measures on Friday, September 9.
House Fiscal Agency Issues August Revenue Report
The House Fiscal Agency issued its August revenue report showing General Fund tax revenue for FY 22 came in $1.2 billion above projections made during the May Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC); $85.9 million above CREC projections for the month. Must of the higher than anticipated revenues were attributed to income tax refunds not yet being paid out. In August, sales and use tax revenues came in at $25 million; continuing to exceed expectations.
For the School Aid Fund, revenues for FY 22 came in about $225.5 million above estimates, and $67.8 million above projections for the month of August ($1.44 billion).