March 13, 2008
The Senate is currently considering the FY 2009 budget resolution. The budget resolution sets forth limits and conditions on both mandatory and discretionary spending for the coming fiscal year. The Senate version of the budget resolution includes a “reserve fund” that is critical to blocking implementation of harmful Medicaid regulations issued by CMS last year. Two of these Medicaid regulations would severely impair the ability of states to use Medicaid to finance critical mental health services including case management and rehabilitative services.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is expected to offer an amendment to the budget resolution that would limit the use of this reserve fund and thereby complicate the ability of Congress to renew and extend moratoria on these CMS regulations later this year. Under Grassley's Amendment, the reserve fund would only be available for legislation that also amends underlying Medicaid law to clarify allowable uses of federal funds for a number of purposes (including rehabilitative services and case management). NAMI wants Congress to be able to stop the regulations while they develop the best language to fix the law. Stopping the regulations from going into effect is known as a moratorium. But Senator Grassley's bill would not allow Congress to do this. They would have to enact changes to the actual law. There may not be time to do that this session and these harmful regulations would go into effect.
Contact your Senators and urge them to oppose the Grassley Amendment to the FY 2009 budget resolution on the Medicaid “reserve fund.” The vote is expected to occur before the end of the week, so time is of the essence. Call your Senator's office by dialing 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to the Health legislative assistant. Tell him or her:
For additional background, click below on our previous alerts on the proposed CMS Medicaid regulations.February 15, 2008