Reg's Blog

Senior and Post-Acute Healthcare News and Topics

House Passes Jobs Bill Containing Enhanced FMAP

On a party line vote, the House of Representatives passed legislation euphemistically coined the “jobs bill”.  The $26 billion dollar legislation includes a $10 billion appropriation for state school budgets and $16 billion to continued the enhanced FMAP (Medicaid match) provided under the ARRA (Stimulus bill), set to expire on December 31.  The vote was 247 to 161.  The appropriation for continuation of the enhanced FMAP extends the additional Stimulus funding through June 30, 2011.

Key supporters of passage of the bill were teacher’s union and other municipal unions who claimed that without the additional funding ($10 billion), job losses via layoffs were certain.  Detractors of the bill claim that the $10 billion, once divided among 50 states, is hardly adequate to offer much financial relief.  In fact, the original version of the bill provided for more than double the funding but deficit hawks in both houses offered sufficient resistance to carve the amount to $10 billion.  Interesting as well is the fact that some $30 billion provided under the ARRA remains unspent for education support.

Supporter of continuation of the enhanced FMAP included SNF and long-term care trade associations as well as the National Governor’s Association.  Their claim is that without continuation of additional Medicaid match funding, state Medicaid budgets, already structurally broke, would reel instantaneously, causing necessary cuts in benefits and provider reimbursements.  Detractors point out that the economy is unlikely to recover fast enough and certainly, not sufficient by mid-year 2011 to avoid the need for either additional federal funding support or substantial budget cuts.

The President is expected to sign the bill quickly, using the ceremony to reinforce the Administration’s claim that the funding was necessary to preserve key governmental infrastructure jobs.  Republican detractors will no doubt continue to rail against the bill’s passage claiming that is another de facto bail-out and the bill’s tax increases will hurt the already flagging economic recovery.

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August 10, 2010 - Posted by | Policy and Politics - Federal | , , , , , , , ,

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