KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Worry About Whether Congress Will Extend Extra Medicaid Funding

The Boston Globe: "The Massachusetts delegation sent letters yesterday to House and Senate leaders urging them to support an extension of Medicaid funding that officials in Massachusetts and other states say is vital to prevent drastic cuts in services and increases in layoffs." Newly elected Republican Sen. Scott Brown did not sign the letter because the proposal would add to the federal deficit. But the 11 Democrats in the delegation were adamant that the extension be approved. "Governor Deval Patrick and state lawmakers have been counting on the extension to fund about $800 million of next year's budget." The proposal currently being advanced by some members of Congress would extend enhanced Medicaid payments, which expired this month, that have been helping states close budget gaps during the economic downturn. The proposed extension would last for six months (Viser, 6/11).

The Charlotte Observer: Legislators are at odds about what to do regarding "a $500 million hole that may appear in that budget if Congress doesn't act on a Medicaid extension. Both the state Senate and the House have adopted versions of the budget that include the Medicaid money. ... Now lawmakers are nervously waiting to hear whether Congress will approve the Medicaid extension bill that at least 30 states are counting on to help avoid teacher layoffs and other cuts" (6/11).

The Denver Post: "If Congress chooses not to approve a six-month extension of Medicaid help to the states, Colorado could face a $211 million budget hole and the prospect of another cut to K-12 education or other programs. Medicaid, a state and federally funded program that provides health care for the poor, now covers about 500,000 Coloradans. During the recession, the federal government has increased its share of Medicaid funding to the states, which have seen tax revenues plunge as Medicaid enrollment rose. It was expected that the federal help would continue. … President Barack Obama had pledged support for extending the funding" but "some House Democrats are now uneasy in an election year about approving more deficit spending" ( Hoover, 6/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.