The action in the legislature last week was dominated by floor votes (3rd Read) in the House and Senate. A handful of the bills that we’re in favor of advanced to the other chamber. You can view this updated PowerPoint with the 30 or so bills on our short list and our Excel file bill tracker managed by our interns.

The public health highlight last week was House approval of HB2338 which would provide preventive dental services to adult Medicaid members. Prior to the 2009 recession, Medicaid members (including adults 21 and over) had a dental benefit. All dental services for folks 21 and over were eliminated that year.

Over the last few years we’ve made incremental gains, first by restoring an emergency dental benefit for persons with disabilities and later an emergency benefit capped at $1K/year for all adult members. 

HB2338 still needs to be successful in the Senate and then get baked into the budget for this important public health gain to be realized. JLBC estimates the benefit would increase AHCCCS General Fund formula costs by $3.5M and that the Hospital Assessment match fund would need to go up $3.8M.

Sadly, a floor amendment by Rep. Gress (Ducey’s former budget director) specifies that the Hospital Assessment Fund can’t be used for preventive dental care services, reducing the chances this will end up in the final budget.

Committee Work this Week

Committees are meeting this week including House & Senate Health, but their agendas are pretty thin. See the Senate Health & House Health agendas.

The only bill I’m signed up to speak on this week is HB1710 in House Health (the bill that would extract the Arizona State Hospital from ADHS): Good Bill Moving the AZ State Hospital Out of ADHS to an Independent Governing Board Up in House Health Committee Monday