Dems’ Bill Would Extend Federal Medicaid Help for Six Months
On Monday, President Obama (via his budget proposal) put out the request for six additional months of extra federal Medicaid funding to help strapped states weather the economic downturn. Today, Senate Democrats complied.
Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of a key health panel, will introduce legislation this week to provide the extra help through June 2011, the lawmakers announced Wednesday.
“Too many families depend on this program for us to allow a shortfall of funding,” Rockefeller said in a statement.
For state health officials, the extension is vital because most state budgets run on a calendar stretching from July through June. That means that the enhanced funding provided by last year’s economic stimulus bill — funding that expires at the end of this year — would take the states through only half of fiscal year 2011, leaving a great deal of uncertainty (not to mention anxiety) as state legislators are composing their budgets this winter. The sooner Congress passes the Reid-Rockefeller bill, the happier the nation’s governors will be.