Today is the first day of agency budget-setting for the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, with the PUC and Department of Environmental Quality among those on the agenda. First, though, the joint committee is considering a final supplemental appropriation request, this one a negative. The Catastrophic Health Care Program, based on its recently revised projections for the current fiscal year, has determined that available resources exceed the needs for this year by about $6 million, largely because the program has diverted a large number of its high-cost cases to the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP. So Gov. Butch Otter has proposed a recission, or return of state funding, from the CAT program in the amount of $6 million for the current year.
Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, moved to approve the change, with $2.4 million of that determined to be one-time, and $3.6 million ongoing. The committee agreed unanimously.