Budget Shortfalls and Health Reform Dominate State Legislators’ Meeting in Philadelphia
As nearly 1,000 state legislators caucused in Philadelphia last week for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Legislative Summit, the dire budgetary conditions of nearly all state governments and the outlook for health reform in Washington were at the forefront of the five-day meeting.
Attendance appeared down from previous years, as most legislators from California and Pennsylvania (the host state) were unable to leave their respective state capitals where they were embroiled in extended deliberation over their budgets for Fiscal Year 2010.
According to NCSL, while the infusion of federal stimulus dollars played a critical role in allowing a number of states to balance their budgets for 2010, state legislators were warned throughout the conference to expect significant revenue shortfalls to pop up later in 2010, as well as in 2011 and 2012.
During the business session of the meeting, legislators had a spirited debate over whether the NCSL organization should adopt a policy position supporting efforts to advance health care reform in Washington. Labeling health reform one of the most pressing issues confronting America today, attendees approved a resolution opposing unfunded federal mandates, urging Congress to allow states to continue to regulate insurance, and endorsing a public option for those states where private insurance is not an option. The vote was 38 states in favor and 11 opposed, resulting in a one state majority over and above the three-quarters majority needed to adopt a policy position.
To review a copy of the NCSL health reform policy position, please click HERE.
SHRM is a platinum sponsor of the NCSL’s Foundation, which affords the Society’s government affairs staff access to statements and background data that is useful when representing the interests of SHRM members. SHRM also makes presentations to NCSL committees on issues of importance to the HR community.