Inaccuracies about federal funding for Medicaid

To the Editor:

Concerns about the reliability of government funding with regard to the Medicaid expansion have been raised.

Some express we can’t rely on the federal government’s commitment to fund the Medicaid expansion even though the funding is in the law and requires Congressional and Presidential approval to be changed. Others note the federal government’s action to reduce funding for special education and elderly housing. What are we to make of this?

The examples cited, special education and elderly housing, have one thing in common — they are not Medicaid programs. The federal government’s commitment to Medicaid funding has been constant. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation in September 2012, the Medicaid funding formula has remained unchanged since the start of the Medicaid program almost 60 years ago. In fact, the federal government created a floor for Medicaid matching funds so that no state's federal share will fall below 50 percent; this is New Hampshire's current federal share.

In the last two recessions, the federal government has actually temporarily increased the federal matching rate for Medicaid to help states deal with the increased caseloads experienced. This happened in 2003-2004 and also in 2009. There is no historical evidence of a reduction in the federal commitment to Medicaid funding.

Let’s make sure we have our history of Medicaid funding straight before we say no to providing health care to roughly 50,000 Granite Staters and to the $2.5 billion in economic benefit over the next seven years.

Doug McNutt
Associate State Director-Advocacy
AARP New Hampshire

Categories: Letters to the Editor