States Aim To Restore Medicaid Assistance to ‘Extenders’ Bill
State officials are concerned that the omission of a provision from the so-called "extenders" bill (HR 4213) that would have provided $23 billion in Medicaid assistance to states means Congress will not allocate any extra federal Medicaid money beyond 2010, CQ Today reports.
The 2009 federal economic stimulus package provides $87 billion in extra Medicaid funding through Dec. 31. The extenders bill originally included a provision to extend federal Medicaid assistance through mid-2011.
The House, which approved the extenders bill last week, excluded several key health-related provisions as part of efforts to alleviate members' concerns over the bill's cost and to secure enough votes for its passage.
The Senate -- which still could add the extra Medicaid funds to the legislation -- adjourned for the weeklong Memorial Day recess before the House passed the bill. Any Senate changes to the legislation would send the bill back to the House for a revote.
State Officials Lobby for Funds
The National Association of State Budget Officers and the National Governors Association will lobby senators to push for an extension of the funds, CQ Today reports.
On Thursday, during a media conference call, NASBO Executive Director Scott Pattison said that the end of the additional Medicaid funds this December could force states already "in fiscal peril" into more financial difficulty.
NGA Executive Director Raymond Scheppach said that Medicaid could be a top candidate for cuts in states with budget issues if Congress allows the additional Medicaid funding to lapse in December.
Scheppach added that governors would first begin to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for physicians. Scheppach said that extending the extra funding through June 2011 would serve as "a bridge" to July 2011, which is the start of a new fiscal year that states hope will be economically stronger (Ethridge, CQ Today, 6/3).
AFSCME Launches Radio Ad Campaign To Restore Funds
On Thursday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees launched a six-figure radio campaign to urge the Senate to restore Medicaid funding for states, CongressDaily reports.AFSCME officials said the group had received assurances from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that the funding would be included in the Senate's version of the bill (McCarthy, CongressDaily, 6/3). 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.