States Push For Additional Medicaid Funding With Budget Cuts On The Horizon
Inside Health Policy reports that Democrats and hospital groups are pushing hard for the Senate to increase Medicaid payments as part of the "tax extenders" bill. "Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told a crowd of hospital stakeholders that the enhanced Medicaid funding, which failed to make its way into health reform, is by no means a lock, despite the pleas of even some Republican governors for its passage."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas are among the Republican state executives who support the measure, which would increase the federal Medicaid matching rate through next June at a cost of $24 billion. The measure as it currently stands expires at the end of this year" (Baker, 6/15).
Meanwhile, Virginia's General Assembly may have to call a special session to reopen the budget to "reverse cuts to Medicaid eligibility that appear to violate provisions of the new federal health care law," according to The Washington Post. "The state had been hoping Congress would extend the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (or FMAP) by six months, which had been extended through the stimulus bill but will lapse on Dec. 31. Extending the enhanced rates by six months would result in more than $400 million in additional federal dollars for Virginia" (Helderman, 6/15).
In Minnesota, groups are protesting cuts to a health care program for the poor, MPR reports. "Four hospitals have agreed to participate in a scaled-back version of General Assistance Medical Care, but all of them are in the Twin Cities. The program uses a coordinated care delivery system, meaning hospitals would get a lump sum of money to care for a certain number of patients." The cuts are to the GMAC program. "The new GAMC program was the result of negotiations between Pawlenty and the [Democratic Farmer Labor]-controlled Legislature to solve the state's budget deficit. The changes took effect June 1" (Dunbar, 6/15).