Congress Returns From Recess To Weigh Medicaid, Other Issues
On Monday, members of Congress return from the Independence Day recess to begin work on numerous legislative initiatives, including an expansion of Medicaid funding for states and a measure on child nutrition, CongressDaily reports.
Many State Medicaid Programs Affected
Thirty states are relying on the federal government to further extend Medicaid funds (Swindell et al., CongressDaily, 7/12).
The 2009 federal economic stimulus package provided extra Medicaid funding through the end of 2010 (California Healthline, 6/3). Lawmakers initially aimed to extend the Medicaid assistance through mid-2011 by including the funds in the so-called "extenders" bill, which failed to advance in the Senate (California Healthline, 6/28).
Many states accounted for the federal aid in their annual budgets that began on July 1.
A bipartisan group of governors has said the financial aid must reach states before Congress leaves for the August recess in order to prevent significant cuts to various state programs and jobs. Senate Democrats currently are working on a bill to secure funding for the program, which they have suggested will be offered this month.
During the recess, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees aired ads targeting Maine Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Olympia Snowe (R) as the last votes needed to pass the extension of Medicaid funding.
The organization also released print ads calling on Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to support the initiative (CongressDaily, 7/12).
Calls for Checks on Spending
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has suggested that the federal government require states to demonstrate commitment to long-term spending restraint before receiving added federal assistance for Medicaid. Warner said the move would ease concerns of business investors, who worry about President Obama's rhetoric on health care, financial regulation and energy (Harwood, "The Caucus," New York Times, 7/11).
House Work on Childhood Nutrition
The House Education and Labor Committee has scheduled a markup on Wednesday of legislation that would reauthorize child nutrition programs and provide additional funding to improve school meals and ensure access to the meals for low-income children.
The bill is a priority for first lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative (CongressDaily, 7/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.