Medicaid Receives $16 Billion Aid Package for Struggling States

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Sep 13 2010 - 1:37pm

The House of Representatives approved a measure in August to provide state Medicaid programs $16 billion in federal aid through next June to make health insurance affordable for illegible groups. The Senate has already approved such a similar measure, and President Obama has already signed the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act into law.

Medicaid is an affordable state-administered health insurance program for low income individuals and families, defined as being at or below 133% of the Federal poverty level. About 60 million Americans are estimated to participate and, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the number of Medicaid beneficiaries has risen by 8% a year since 2008.

To be eligible for Medicaid, one must meet certain requirements in addition to low income, such as pregnancy or disability. Each state has its own set of guidelines. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides a listing of links to each state’s program website.

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Read: Millions of Qualified Kids Not On Medicaid

Majority of states to exceed nation's only affordable health insurance program's enrollment

Forty-four states have reported that they will exceed their enrollment and spending projections this year as 14.6 million people are finding themselves without a private health insurance plan offered by employers. About a dozen states, including Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin and Maryland have experienced a double-digit increase in enrollment, according to The Fiscal Times.

In Florida, for example, the number of residents claiming Medicaid benefits rose from 2 million to 2.8 million since 2007 and growth raise are expected to double.

Read: Doctors Restricting Texas Medicaid Patients Due to Cuts

The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which is also providing $10 billion to save the jobs of teachers, firefighters, police and other public service employees, will keep Medicaid running in the face of shrinking budgets, but for how long? Cumulative state budget shortfalls for 2010 and 2011 are estimated to be at $350 billion, prompting cuts averaging 12 percent since 2008.

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