Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stimulus Dollars Bring Good News

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee on General Government and Health Care heard testimony from Dyke Snipes, Medicaid Director for the Agency for Health Care Administration on the enhanced Medicaid Federal match (FMAP) contained in the Economic Stimulus Law recently passed by Congress. Dyke provided the criteria Florida must meet to qualify for the enhanced match, which would result in the state's FMAP increasing from 55.4% to 67.64%. In the 2008-09 Fiscal Year, this increase would provide Florida with an additional $953 million, or $661 million in excess funds after fully funding Medicaid, including caseload increases.

Dyke stated this $661 million can be freed up for any other purpose by the Legislature except placement in reserve or rainy day funds. This initiated a number of questions from legislators, such as whether funds can be used to increase reimbursement rates or if it could empty the wait lists for Home and Community Base waiver programs, and "yes" was the answer to all. In 2009-10 FY, the increase will be $1.169 billion or $646 million of additional funds after fully funding Medicaid programs.

This was the first good news for legislators who fear they will have to make massive cuts to health care services.

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