The Senate Substitute Amendment to H.R. 4213 (pdf) includes the Extension of Temporary Increase in Federal Medicaid Matching Rate (FMAP). This modification adds a six-month extension, through June 30, 2011, of the FMAP increases enacted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
As Secretary Bigby notes, "both the House and Senate in Congress have separately approved the extension, though they have yet to do so in the same legislative vehicle." However, "because Congress has not yet approved a six-month extension of Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) funding, Governor Patrick … revise his budget proposal for FY 2011 to ensure we have a responsibly balanced budget before the start of the fiscal year."
This means should the House and Senate not act to jointly pass the FMAP extension, Massachusetts will face a 3.6% reduction in spending across the board, which has the potential to devestate services for the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth.
The Substitute Amendment also contains provisions promoting American jobs, providing relief to working families, addressing disaster response, fixing tax loopholes, among other things. For more information, see the Summary of Senate Substitute Amendment to American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (PDF).
Because Congress has not yet approved a six-month extension of Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) funding, Governor Patrick announced today that he will fulfill his commitment to revise his budget proposal for FY 2011 to ensure we have a responsibly balanced budget before the start of the fiscal year. The new proposal reflects his values-based approach to budget management under extremely difficult fiscal circumstances.
We projected that the FMAP extension is worth at least $608 million in additional federal reimbursements to the state, and to close that budget gap, we would have to reduce spending by approximately 3.6%. The Governor has asked the Legislature for line-item transferability to help the Secretaries manage these across the board cuts with flexibility.
We all know about the significant impact the recession has already had on people, their families and their businesses throughout the Commonwealth, let alone on the public services on which they rely. Next year’s budget will be tight even with the FMAP extension, and this proposal will only make it more difficult.
We are optimistic that the extension will ultimately be approved, but we need your help. Call the members of our Congressional delegation in the House and the Senate to let them know how much we need their support for the people you serve.
The Governor has asked only that you continue to work with us and talk to us. He has shown you, even under the toughest imaginable circumstances, that for him, governing is about people. Not about some abstract policy theory or math exercise, but about human beings trying to make their way and how we can help you help yourselves.
Both the House and Senate in Congress have separately approved the extension, though they have yet to do so in the same legislative vehicle. The President has demonstrated his support for the extension by including it in his own budget proposal. Twenty nine other states have factored the FMAP extension into their budgets, just as we have, and are working with their congressional delegations, fellow governors and the administration to secure final passage, just as I am. But the possibility remains that we will not have the funding secured in time for the start of our next fiscal year on July 1, 2010.
JudyAnn Bigby, M.D.
JudyAnn Bigby, M.D.
Secretary, Executive Office of Health and Human Services
One Ashburton Place, Suite 1109
Boston, MA 02108