The State We’re In: State Senator Jim Welch on the 2018 Massachusetts State Budget

State Sen. Jim Welch, (D– West Springfield) Chair of the Health Care Financing Committee, joins Jim Madigan on The State We’re In. They discuss the coming 2018 Massachusetts State Budget debate, including the rising cost of health care programs, as well the possibility of any additional state taxes in 2017.

  • Norm Spier

    When it comes to all discussion of the MA state budget around Medicaid=MassHealth, Jim, Carolee, and everyone else watch out.

    The 40% number as the proportion of the State budget in misleading and effectively incorrect.

    (See: http://massbudget.org/reports/pdf/NetCost-MassHealth_FINAL.pdf where I quote:

    “Unlike in all but a handful of other states, the Massachusetts state
    budget for the Medicaid program includes both state and federal spending
    combined.” )

    Thus, the way Massachusetts has set up its FORMAL accounting, the large Federal contribution to Medicaid is counted in this 40% number that’s tossed about.

    But really, in trying understand and manage what the state has to pay out vs what it can take in in revenues from state sources like taxes, you would only look at the spending that comes from state sources like taxes. (They seem to call this “net budget” in the brochure I linked to.)

    From the document I linked to, updating the numbers in 2nd pie chart, it seems its about 25%, not 40%, of state-revenue (=”net budget”) that goes to Medicaid=MassHealth.

    (See the 1980s book “How to Lie With Statistics”.)

    Obviously, people who want to skimp on Medicaid in the state would choose to mislead with the 40% number, as the effect is more dramatic for people who don’t know the details.

    Maximum critical thinking skills always, please!