While the president’s health care reform bill likely won’t pass anytime soon, he’s trying to beef up funding for programs like Medicaid, raise quality of care, and decrease Medicare fraud in his FY 2011 federal budget. He’s proposed an additional $25.5 billion in emergency Medicaid funding for states. (Source)
Last month, Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley for the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. During his campaign, Brown publicly opposed Barack Obama’s health care reform plan. Democrats interpreted his win as a consensus against reform as offered by Congress. Democrats in both houses of Congress considered trying to pass health care reform in smaller bills rather than one large bill. The proposed budget’s infusion of Medicaid funds is an attempt to compensate for lack of progress on reform. States that included extra funding in their budgets in anticipation of health care reform passing may appreciate the emergency funds.
According to the president’s secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, there will be a six-month extension of the Medicaid funding increase that was part of last year’s stimulus bill. The recession has sent more Americans to Medicaid, and some states have considered lowering payment rates to doctors and hospitals to make up for shortfalls.
The budget also calls for experiments to improve quality of care for the elderly with multiple chronic health issues and to find the most effective treatments for high-cost conditions.
FY 2011 federal funding for Texas includes $18.7 billion for coverage to low-income children and families and $2.5 billion for primary and preventive care at health centers. (Source)