Today, the Wall Street Journal reported 33 governors and governors-elect sent a letter pressing the Obama administration to ease restrictions on cutting Medicaid enrollment. Under provisions of the federal health reform act, and the federal stimulus before that, states are held to “maintenance of effort” and are not allowed to roll back income eligibility levels for Medicaid.

As legislatures and governors finalized state budgets earlier this year, 24 states made the bet that Congress would extend enhanced Medicaid match rates from ARRA and included that assumption in their budgets. In August 2010, Congress passed legislation including additional Medicaid assistance through enhanced FMAP rates through the end of FY 2011 - or June 2011 - but provided less aid to states than many had anticipated.

Congress came through with additional Medicaid assistance to help states finish out the 2011 fiscal year—but the aid is an estimated $1.74 billion short of what 24 states had hoped for, according to a survey by The Council of State Governments.

Originally Published on the Huffington Post, August 11, 2010

The House of Representatives rushed back to Washington this week to send $26 billion in budget relief to beleaguered state capitols by extending stimulus payments for Medicaid and state education programs. The funding arrives at a critical juncture, with the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, and other public employees on the line.