Obama Set To Release $15 Billion to State Medicaid Programs
During a Monday meeting at the White House with the nation's governors, President Obama said Medicaid funding from the economic stimulus package will begin arriving at the states on Wednesday, the Omaha World-Herald reports (Morton, Omaha World-Herald, 2/23).
Obama added that the first two quarters of matching funds for 2009 are set up in special Treasury Department accounts, allowing the states to utilize the money almost immediately.
"That means that by the time most of you get home, money will be waiting to help 20 million vulnerable Americans in your states keep their health coverage," Obama said (Youngman, The Hill, 2/23).
Of the $15 billion, New York and California will receive the largest portions, at $2.07 billion and $1.99 billion, respectively.
Obama told the governors that he will "call them out" if he believes they are not spending the money properly, adding, "This is not a blank check. ... These funds are intended to go directly toward helping struggling Americans keep their health coverage, we want to make sure that's what's happening and we're going to work with you closely to make sure that this money is spent the way it's supposed to" (Condon, CongressDaily, 2/23).
Obama also addressed governors who have said they will not accept portions of the stimulus money, warning them "against allowing political considerations to cloud a discussion of the stimulus program," the AP/Kansas City Star reports (Fouhy, AP/Kansas City Star, 2/23).
The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday examined the debate surrounding funding for comparative-effectiveness research included in the stimulus bill. According to the Los Angeles Times, "The comparative-effectiveness issue was supposed to help lay the groundwork for the broader reform effort," but it "became a lightning rod for conservative commentators who labeled it a step toward socialized medicine, a line of attack that has doomed every health overhaul effort since World War II."
The Los Angeles Times reports that "the ferocity of the tussle ... provided a warning for those seeking to reshape the nation's health care system" (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 2/24).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.