Stimulus package, FMAP increase back in the spotlight

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Lawmakers in Washington have been meeting this week to discuss the details of a new economic stimulus bill. They hope to have such legislation ready for Barack Obama to sign when he is sworn in as president next month.

Democrats on the Hill said Monday that they are seeking between $400 billion and $500 billion in stimulus money for infrastructure projects, alternative energy resources and healthcare spending. Medicaid could see a financial injection of up to $40 billion, or $20 billion per year for the next two years, according to a report in The Washington Post. States and healthcare agencies alike have been lobbying Congress to include a temporary increase in the federal medical assistance percentage in any new stimulus packages (McKnight's, 11/3).

In related news, at a meeting with President-elect Obama Tuesday, members of the National Governors Association said they would be looking for roughly $176 billion in stimulus money. According to NGA vice-chairman Jim Douglas of Vermont (R), the economic downturn has increased the burden on state assistance programs such as Medicaid. The governors asked the future president to include $40 billion in Medicaid funds as part of the $176 billion allotment.