August 11, 2010
President Obama late yesterday signed into law a $26.1 billion package of aid (HR 1586) that includes a six-month extension of higher Medicaid federal matching funds for states – a major contribution toward fighting additional cuts to state and local mental health budgets. The President’s signature of the package followed House passage yesterday by a vote of 247-161.
View the House roll call vote on final passage of HR 1586.
The voice of NAMI advocates made a hug difference in securing the $16 billion in federal funds for state Medicaid programs that are included in this legislation. It was critical that the voice of families and consumers remained engaged in fighting cuts to safety net programs that meet the needs of children and adults living with serious mental illness during the current economic downturn.
HR 1586 includes both extended higher federal Medicaid matching funds (known as FMAP) and additional funding for state and local education agencies to avoid teacher layoffs in 2011. The Medicaid funds in the bill will extend the higher federal FMAP payments that were contained in the 2009 economic stimulus legislation (known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ARRA) for an additional six months. The federal Medicaid matching rate had been increased by 6.2 percentage points for all States, and by additional percentage points for states with high unemployment.
These temporary increases were enacted as part of ARRA in 2009 in response to the increased burden on Medicaid programs and cuts imposed at the state level as a result of decreasing state revenues during the recession. The increase is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010. The amendment will continue the additional federal assistance for six months, but would phase the level of assistance down. For January – March, 2011, the federal Medicaid matching rate will be increased by 3.2 percentage points for all states and for April – June, 2011, the federal Medicaid matching rate will be increased by 1.2 percentage points for all states. For the same six-month period, states with high unemployment will continue to receive the additional percentage points, as they do under current law. This will ensure that states continue to receive increases throughout state fiscal year 2011.
Additional information on the impact of economic downturn on state budgets and the Medicaid program can be found at:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation