Extension of Medicaid Relief Clears Last Hurdle in Congress – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

We’ve been following for some time the inconsistent
progress of legislation that would extend increased federal Medicaid payments
to states.  While versions of the
legislation have previously passed both houses of Congress, the two chambers
had not succeeded in making the extension law by agreeing to the same
bill.  Today, they have, with the
House interrupting its August recess to pass a bill approved by the Senate last
week that includes both the Medicaid funding and more support for public
schools.  The act will continue for
six months a portion of the increased Medicaid funding that states have been
receiving under the economic recovery legislation.  The funds had been scheduled to expire in December of this year,
but instead will phase out through June of 2011. 

States have been receiving an extra 6.2 percentage points
in federal matching funds for their Medicaid programs, plus an additional
amount based on the state’s unemployment rate.  Under the extension, this will drop to 3.2 percentage points
in January 2011 and 1.2 percentage points in April, again with an additional
increase based on unemployment figures. 
See this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report for an estimate of the
amount each state will receive over the first six months of 2011.

This extension will give states a bit more breathing room
in their 2011 budgets.  The
Medicaid and education funds will help protect not only health coverage and
kids’ schooling, but should reduce pressure across states’ budgets.  Many states had already counted on the
extension in the budgets they approved earlier this year, so Congress’s action
is an important contribution to keeping those budgets intact.  State budgets remain challenged but it’s good to see
Congress take action to protect important services that are helping kids and
families today.

Scroll to Top