Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


All 50 States, D.C. Request Added Medicaid Money

By John Reichard, CQ HealthBeat Editor

September 24, 2010 -- State governors and the District of Columbia had until the end of Friday to request their share of $16.1 billion in added Medicaid money made available under a law passed by Congress this summer—and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced late in the afternoon that all had done so.

"I am glad that every state and the District of Columbia has decided to accept this funding to assist in extending coverage for men, women, children, seniors, and people with disabilities," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has blasted the education-Medicaid funding measure signed into law Aug. 6 by President Obama, saying at the time that "the American people don't want more stimulus spending."

But Republican and Democratic governors alike decided they wanted the Medicaid money.

"These critical resources will not only help stave off cuts to Medicaid but will also help sustain jobs in hospitals and health centers in communities across the country," Sebelius said in her statement Friday.

The education-Medicaid funding measure extended the period of added federal Medicaid funding that started as part of stimulus funding from Dec. 31, 2010, to June 30, 2011. But states had to specifically request the funds within 45 days, or by Sept. 24.

After Congress passed the economic stimulus law in 2009, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford grabbed headlines by appearing to take a principled stand against the law in suggesting he wouldn't take any money. But Sanford then later quietly took the funding. The 45-day provision appeared to be designed to keep governors from appearing to act on principle against the funding while quietly accepting it.

It's no surprise that states strapped for cash are taking the money, but that isn't stopping lawmakers from raising concerns about how much money Washington is spending overall on Medicaid.

Elsewhere on Friday, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, sent a letter to Sebelius asking why a report due last January on Medicaid's finances still hasn't been submitted to Congress by HHS.

"I said before that the report might contain bad news, but we all need to see it," Grassley said in a news release.

"The new health care reform law expands Medicaid by the greatest amount in the program's history, yet states are already struggling to afford their existing Medicaid responsibilities," Grassley said. "It would really bother me if HHS were withholding the report because they don't want people to know what the true picture of Medicaid is."

HHS officials had no immediate comment.

Publication Details