Obama Signs Bill Giving States $16 Billion In Enhanced Medicaid Payments

President Obama signed a bill Tuesday that gives states an extra $16 billion in Medicaid funding.

The Wall Street Journal: The House returned Tuesday from its August recess to vote on the bill. "The session was set up by last week's surprise Senate passage of the $26 billion measure [including $10 billion to preserve teacher jobs] after House members had already departed. Democratic leaders concluded it was worth returning to pass a bill they said would save hundreds of thousands of jobs overall. Democrats say states would have had to offset Medicaid payments by laying off police officers and firefighters, but now won't have to. … Democrats said the bill was needed to rescue struggling state budgets, and they noted that governors of both parties supported it. Republicans said it was just another bailout" (Bendavid, 8/11).

McClatchy Newspapers: "At least half the states, hit hard by rising Medicaid caseloads and lower than expected revenue, had been counting on federal aid for the health program after Jan. 1. Washington had provided extra help through Dec. 31 under the 2009 federal stimulus" (Lightman, 8/10).

The Washington Post: "The sum is about half what Obama requested. Democratic leaders were forced to scale back the package by rank-and-file Democrats concerned about how more spending would play with angry voters. They also had to cover the cost of the measure so that it would not increase future deficits. The bill includes nearly $10 billion in new taxes on U.S. multinational corporations that do business abroad, and it rescinds after 2014 an increase in food stamp payments enacted in last year's $862 billion stimulus package" (Montgomery and Anderson, 8/11).

Los Angeles Times: The House vote was 247-161 for the bill, largely along party lines; three Democrats voted against the bill and two Republicans voted for it. "Many states, including California, were exposed to gaping budget holes without the aid. California will receive $1.2 billion. The liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimates the Medicaid funds will save an additional 158,000 jobs nationwide" (Mascaro, 8/11).

ABC News: "Republicans have sharply criticized the package, calling it more misguided government spending and accusing Democrats of political pandering in advance of the November elections. 'We are broke. We do not have the money to bail out the states,' John Boehner, the top House Republican, told reporters [Tuesday]" (Dwyer and Jaffe, 8/10).

NPR's Shots Blog: Republicans "claimed the measure was another example of excessive Democratic spending the nation can't afford. 'There is no emergency,' said Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 'There is no pending financial catastrophe.' Au contraire, said Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-CA), who chairs the Energy and Commerce panel. The money would help educate children and provide health care to vulnerable people. 'What could be more important?' he asked'" (Villegas, 8/11).

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