Senate Poised To Vote on Bill To Extend State Medicaid Funding
On Monday, the Senate is expected to conduct a procedural vote on a previously unannounced state financial aid package that would, among other things, provide enhanced federal Medicaid funding for states through June 2011, Politico reports.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed for cloture on the $26.1 billion aid package, which is designed to help states overcome projected revenue shortfalls and prevent broad worker layoffs and budget cuts (Rogers, Politico, 8/2).
What the Package Does
The aid package -- which was introduced as a substitute amendment to a non-health-care-related House-passed bill (HR 1586) -- will require 60 votes to proceed in the chamber. The Medicaid proposal would provide states with $16.1 billion in additional funding for six months, beginning in January 2011 (Ethridge, CQ Today, 7/30).
The latest Medicaid provision would follow a "phase-down" approach, which had been proposed in the "extenders" bill that failed in the Senate, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The legislation would make the payments on a sliding scale, starting with a 3.2% increase in the first quarter and a 1.2% increase in the second quarter (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/30).
Democrats said that the package would be fully offset by several provisions, including one that would close foreign tax credit loopholes that is projected to raise $9 billion, CQ Today reports.
The package also includes:
- $8.4 billion in spending cuts;
- $2 billion in reductions to Medicaid drug pricing; and
- a $6.7 billion reduction to food-stamp funding under the 2009 stimulus package (CQ Today, 7/30).
Prospect for the Medicaid Funding Measure
The low-profile manner in which the Medicaid funding measure emerged makes it difficult to determine its political prospects, according to Politico (Politico, 8/1).
Senate Democrats are hopeful that their efforts to offset the full cost of the package will help secure the support of all 59 members of their caucus and at least one Republican, which would make up the 60 votes necessary for cloture during Monday's vote.
Aides to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who in the past have voted with Democrats on various bills, said the two lawmakers still were reviewing the new Medicaid funding measure (CQ Today, 7/30).
A spokesperson for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), a moderate, said the lawmaker still was undecided.
Although the White House is supportive of the measure, President Obama did not mention it during his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, and state officials like Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who have been calling for the Senate to approve a new state Medicaid funding package, did not mention the measure during television appearances over the weekend, Politico reports (Politico, 8/1).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.