Governors urge Senate to increase medical assistance to states

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The National Governors Association is fighting alongside the American Health Care Association for an increase in states' Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) in a new economic stimulus package.

In a letter to Congress and the White House, the governors said they "strongly support a combination of a $6 billion block grant and $6 billion in increased Medicaid funding to be included in any stimulus package." Eighteen states have projected budget shortfalls totaling $14 billion for 2008, the NGA says. The proposed increase in their FMAP could help states curtail the effects of an economic downturn, and ensure seniors' ability to access key Medicaid benefits.

The current form of the economic stimulus package, tentatively agreed upon by the House of Representative and the White House, does not include an increase in states' FMAP. Before taking effect, however, it must first pass through the Senate, where key members have voiced support for the NGA and AHCA's proposal. Nursing home providers fear that a recession could impede seniors' access to Medicaid benefits.