June 30 The $830 billion economic stimulus
package of federal spending and tax breaks temporarily
increased the reimbursements states receive from the U.S.
government for Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor.
Some states found the additional money kept them from
having to take money away from other services in order to cover
Medicaid costs. Other states where unemployment soared were
able to pay for people who lost employer-sponsored health
insurance. The stimulus plan stipulated that they would lose
the extra reimbursements if they cut their own spending on the
program. For related story see [N1E75N0YO].
The boost became so vital to many states' budgets that when
the funding expired last summer, Congress extended it with $16
billion until the end of this month. That money is now largely
gone, which means states must cover a larger share of Medicaid
Here are some facts about the effects of the stimulus
* The total amount given to states through the stimulus and
the extension is estimated at $100 billion.
* Medicaid enrollment rose to 50.3 million in June 2010
from 42.3 million in June 2007
* States are reimbursed at least 50 percent of their
Medicaid costs, and can be reimbursed as much as 74.73 percent.
* In the stimulus plan, all states received an increase of
at least 6.2 percentage points in their reimbursement rates.
Those with high unemployment got slightly more.
* In the extension passed last summer, the boost to the
reimbursement rates dropped. All states received at least a 3.2
percentage point increase from January through March of this
year and then a 1.2 percentage point increase from April
* Most states used the money to address Medicaid budget
shortfalls, pay for increases in enrollment, reduce general
fund shortfalls, avoid benefit cuts, and put off cuts in the
amounts of money paid to doctors and other care providers.
* In 2009, federal funds provided 62.4 percent of Maine's
Medicaid spending, the highest federal share of all the
* Mississippi has the highest federal matching rate, 74.2
percent. Under the stimulus plan, its reimbursements reached a
high of 84.9 percent.
SOURCES: The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the
Uninsured, National Association of State Budget Officers,
(Editing by James Dalgleish)