States Look to Federal Government to Prevent Unemployed Workers from Crowding Medicaid Programs
Hoping to avoid taking on greater financial burden at a time when revenues are already decreasing, states have asked the federal government to enact measures that would "minimize the number of laid-off workers joining" Medicaid, the Wall Street Journal reports. Specifically, the states want the federal government to "help workers hold on to private health insurance by offering them financial assistance until they find new coverage." The National Conference of State Legislatures sent a letter to President Bush recently saying that "states' fiscal health has declined rapidly" since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Raymond Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association, said that federal relief would allow states to "weather a possible recession" without "drastically" raising taxes or cutting services (Pinkston, Wall Street Journal, 10/17). Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that "millions of Americans" who are laid off do not qualify for unemployment benefits due to restrictions found in most states; part-time workers, recently hired low wage employees and those who quit their jobs, for instance, are not eligible. As a result, these people "will not be helped" by proposals to help the recently laid off by extending unemployment benefits (Leonhardt, New York Times, 10/17).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.