House Members Returning For Vote On Extra Medicaid Help
House members are returning to Washington for a Tuesday vote on $16 billion in extra Medicaid funds for cash-strapped states, The Associated Press reports. "The unusual in-and-out session was called because the Senate waited until last Thursday, after the House had already recessed for its summer break" to pass the bill, which includes $10 billion in state aid for teachers' jobs, too. "Republicans forced back to the Capitol to vote against a bill see it differently. Democrats should be staying home and listening to their constituents 'instead of scampering back to Washington to push through more special interest bailouts and job-killing tax hikes,' said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio." Congress originally included extra money to Medicaid programs in the February 2009 federal stimulus package, to help cash-strapped states pay for the health care program for the poor (Abrams, 8/9).
CongressDaily: "The measure is fully offset and includes an $11.9 billion cut to the food stamp program and a $1.5 billion cut to the Energy Department's renewable energy loan guarantee program. Democrats would have preferred a different offset other than cutting food stamps, but there is time to find other funds to pay for the bill since the cuts would not kick in until 2014, said [Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.] 'We have additional time to identify other offsets,' he said, adding that it is important for Congress to act on the bill because without the Medicaid assistance, states would have to cut their budgets. That would likely result in an additional 150,000 laid-off workers, including police and firefighters" (Sanchez, 8/6).
The Detroit News: Michigan is one of 30 states counting on the enhanced Medicaid money to close a budget gap. "[T]he roughly $300 million for Federal Medical Assistance Percentages funds is still $260 million short of what state officials had been hoping for, and will leave them looking for places to trim. In stumping for passage of the bill earlier this summer, Granholm warned that cutting FMAP funding could result in further cuts in state payments to doctors for Medicaid patients, which already net physicians roughly half what their Medicare counterparts bring in. With the cut in funding looming, doctors warned that it may have been financially impossible for them to continue seeing Medicaid patients" (Hurst, 8/9).
Related, earlier KHN story: Dems 1 For 2 On Health Subsidies: Senate OKs Extra Medicaid Funds But COBRA Help Likely Gone For Good (Villegas, 8/5)This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.