Say please: States have to ask for extended Medicaid assistance funding, Sebelius says

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If states want their share of a $16.1 billion Medicaid assistance package, they're going to have to ask for it, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the nation's governors last week.

In her letter to state executives, Sebelius said that governors would have to explicitly ask for their share of the increased federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP). States also will have to reconfirm their commitment to following certain conditions for receiving the funds. Those conditions include maintaining Medicaid eligibility standards, following prompt payment standards, and actually using the FMAP funding for its intended purpose. They are the same conditions that applied to the current 6.2% FMAP increase in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The move forces the hand of some state governors who had been critical of the federal government's spending habits, according to Kaiser Health News. A number of governors, including Indiana's Mitch Daniels (R) and Mississippi's Haley Barbour (R), had initially requested the funds but later turned critical of the efforts to provide them.