Medicare spat slows expansion for FMAP

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Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

Nursing home providers were holding out hope last month that Congress would pass a bill extending an increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) by six months. But as of press time, wrangling over related costs had lawmakers at odds.

Besides enhanced Medicaid funding, the bill also could include a provision for a delay in a 21% cut in Medicare physician payments.

“Every state's in deep trouble,” Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, told members at a congressional briefing last month in Washington. “FMAP is going to be huge to fill a bunch of budget holes, budget gaps around the country.”

The House and Senate were working to reconcile their versions of the legislation. The House passed a bill that would delay the physician pay cut but would not extend the Medicaid increase. Later, the Senate passed a bill that would delay the cut. It was working on a separate bill with the FMAP funding extension.