State Medicaid funding sparks revolt before today's healthcare summit

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
President Obama is expected to meet today with a select group of congressmen from both the Republican and Democratic parties to discuss ideas for healthcare reform. One agenda item expected to get some attention after a brief protest from Republicans is Medicaid funding for states. Medicaid is far and away the single biggest payer of nursing home care in the United States.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) had, until Wednesday afternoon, been withholding his final list of invitees to the healthcare summit in minor protest over governors and state legislators being excluded from the meeting, according to reports from Washington. At issue is a proposal to extend by six months the temporary increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP), which provides Medicaid funding for states. States, already facing massive budget deficits, will be on the hook for even higher Medicaid payments when the increase expires at the end of 2010.

The White House countered that governors and state legislators were not invited to the summit because they would not be able to vote on the healthcare reform bill, reports Obama also met with the state executives over the weekend at the recent gathering of the National Governors Association. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is currently working with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a proposal that would extend the temporary increase through June of 2011.