Medicaid Funding Unlikely in Economic Stimulus Plan
A $150 billion economic stimulus package being debated by lawmakers likely will not include a temporary funding increase for states' Medicaid programs because Republicans are questioning whether the money would benefit the economy, CongressDaily reports.
Congressional aides said the Medicaid provision could re-emerge in the planning of the package, but "they added there is little enthusiasm about it," according to CongressDaily. Unemployment benefits and food stamp increases appear to be higher priorities than Medicaid for lawmakers crafting the measure (Johnson, CongressDaily, 1/24).
Lawmakers are hoping to send the measure to President Bush by Feb. 15, CQ Today reports (Rubin, CQ Today, 1/23). If Medicaid funding is not included in the House stimulus plan, "it could cause problems in the Senate," where some lawmakers are calling for a broader state aid package, according to CongressDaily (CongressDaily, 1/24).
The Congressional Progressive Caucus is drafting a letter to Pelosi that includes a list of items they want included in the package, including an increase in food stamp benefits, extra Medicaid money to states, unemployment benefits and changes to the child and earned income tax credits. The letter is expected to be sent to Pelosi this week (CQ Today, 1/23). However, CongressDaily reports that "Republicans' distaste for the Medicaid language has spelled its doom because the stimulus package needs bipartisan support" (CongressDaily, 1/24).