Economic Stimulus Package Could Include Money For Medicaid

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A new economic stimulus package being considered by federal lawmakers and officials could include additional funding to state Medicaid programs, which could help prevent planned cuts in the programs, CQ HealthBeat reports. U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke on Monday in testimony before the House Budget Committee did not mention Medicaid specifically, but said an injection of federal money to bolster state services included in a stimulus bill would help the national economy, according to CQ HealthBeat.

National Governors Association Executive Director Ray Scheppach said the chances of Medicaid funds being included in such a package have "very much" increased from earlier this year, when the first stimulus package was passed without such funds. President Bush is open to the possibility of a second package, but earlier this year objected to including money for Medicaid, CQ HealthBeat reports.

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Scheppach said that passage of a stimulus bill with Medicaid funding could occur during the lame-duck session of Congress and suggested that the White House might be more open to negotiating on the matter. He said states, which are facing a collective $50 billion shortfall in fiscal year 2008-2009, would be less likely to cut spending on Medicaid and other programs if they know lawmakers are working to provide federal assistance.

Bruce Yarwood, president of the American Health Care Association, said, "On behalf of the nation's most vulnerable seniors who need and depend upon access to quality nursing home care, we believe any economic stimulus package must include a state Medicaid relief component" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 10/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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