Senate Passes $9B Measure To Help States Defray Medicaid, Social Services Costs
The Senate yesterday passed a measure that would provide states with $9 billion to help with the costs of Medicaid and other social service programs, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. The measure, an amendment to a broader generic drug bill (S 812), would provide states with $6 billion in additional federal Medicaid matching funds (AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/26). The measure also would provide states with $3 billion in grants for child care and other social service programs. At least 36 states would receive funds under the measure, CQ Daily Monitor Midday Update reports (CQ Daily Monitor Midday Update, 7/25).
"Many states continue to face budget shortfalls and face the prospect of instituting significant cuts in health care and social services to curb expenditures," Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton (D), chair of the National Governors Association, which has lobbied for additional federal funds to help states with Medicaid costs, said. He added that the measure "is an important first step in helping states maintain service levels during the continuing fiscal crisis" (AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/26). Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R), vice chair of the NGA, said, "As it stands, states can no longer afford Medicaid. It was imperative for the Senate to recognize that states needed significant assistance" (Carter, AP/Washington Post, 7/26). The American Hospital Association and the American Health Care Association have endorsed the measure (Jansen, Portland Press Herald, 7/25). The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO also supports the measure (AFSCME release, 7/25). However, some lawmakers criticized the measure as a "giveback" for states. "Today we have a $165 billion deficit, and we're still spending like drunken sailors," Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) said (AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/26). Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) added that changing the way the federal Medicaid match rate works "sets a dangerous precedent" (Fischer, Charleston Daily Mail, 7/25).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.