Worried governors ask Congress for more federal Medicaid funding

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The nation's governors have appealed to congressional leaders to boost federal Medicaid funding and change tax provisions to help states through the current economic slowdown. In particular, the governors recommended in a letter sent Monday that Congress increase for at least a two-year period a formula that determines matching payments to state Medicaid programs.

"Funding for FMAP (the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) is a particularly effective counter-cyclical tool because it immediately allows Governors to eliminate planned budget cuts required to meet balanced budget requirements and continue services for those with the greatest need," the NGA said. Medicaid is the No. 1 payer of nursing home services in the United States.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing today to explore tax-related options that could be included in an economic stimulus package. The governors' letter to congressional leaders can be found here.