June 3, 2010
On May 28, the House approved a Jobs and Tax Extenders legislative package by a vote of 215-204, but not before eliminating a provision that would have extended each state’s federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) through June 2011. The bill, known as the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act (HR 4213), now moves to the Senate where efforts will be made to get the extended Medicaid FMAP funds for the states back into the bill. Extended Medicaid FMAP is critical in fighting additional cuts to publicly funded mental health services at the state and local level.
Call your Senators now to support the restoration of Medicaid FMAP funds into the Jobs and Tax Extenders Package. All Senate offices can be reached toll-free by calling 877-210-5351 or 877-442-6801 or through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. You can also send a message to your Senators and House member via NAMI's Legislative Action Center.
The American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act (HR 4213) includes dozens of "must pass" provisions that will extend expiring tax breaks, avoid deep cuts in physician payment rates under Medicare and extend unemployment benefits in the current economic downturn and provide assistance to states to avoid cuts in education.
Of particular concern to NAMI are two provisions in the package that will help avoid additional cuts to Medicaid-funded mental health services and invest more than $1 billion in development of affordable rental housing targeted to individuals with extremely low incomes, including people with mental illness living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
1. Extended Medicaid FMAP Funding – The House-passed version of HR 4213 EXCLUDES $26 billion to extend the current higher federal match for state Medicaid programs that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009. This higher federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) is set to expire at the end of 2010. It is critical for Congress to extend the higher FMAP for states through June 2011. Securing these funds now is important in avoiding further deep cuts to mental illness treatment and support services financed by Medicaid. In the coming weeks, many states will be moving to finalize their 2011 budgets and the absence of extended higher FMAP is certain to place Medicaid funding at risk.
2. National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) Investment - HR 4213 includes $1.065 billion for initial capitalization of the NHTF, a program authorized by Congress in 2008 to invest in the development of rental housing targeted to households with extremely low incomes, including non-elderly adults living on SSI. This provision of $1.065 billion will be allocated to states by formula and includes funding for capital and project-based rent subsidies to ensure that rents are affordable to people living on SSI. More information on the NHTF and efforts to secure this initial capitalization is available the NLIHC website.