McDonnell requests federal dollars for Medicaid
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has formally requested that Virginia receive its share of federal Medicaid dollars contained in a bill approved by the Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama on Aug. 11.
In a letter (pdf) sent Wednesday to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, McDonnell requested that the funds be made available to Virginia.
The request means Virginia will collect more than $260 million in additional federal dollars for Medicaid, money the General Assembly agreed in April would be used to prevent deep cuts in reimbursements to health-care providers that serve Medicaid patients.
The dollars come from a congressional decision to boost for six months the federal share of Medicaid costs, which are split between the states and the U.S. government.
Congress originally adopted the "enhanced" Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (or FMAP) as part of the stimulus package. But those enhanced rates were set to expire at the end of the year.
Congress spent months arguing about whether to help states that have been suffering severe budget crunches by extending the enhanced aid through June 30, 2011. Republicans in Washington said that with federal deficit growing, the government could not afford to approve additional aid for states.
The GOP, including Virginia's congressional delegation, voted against the bill that contained the boosted Medicaid money.
During the debate over the legislation, McDonnell said he shared concerns about rising federal spending. But he also said he would ensure that Virginia did not lose out if Congress approved the funds. He already requested that the state receive seperate funds included for teachers in the same legislation.
Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) had urged McDonnell to reject the funds, saying that accepting them increases the state's reliance on the federal government.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| September 23, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories: Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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