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D.C., VA And MD Fight For Medicaid Funding

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By Manuel Quinones

Maryland, Virginia and the District are fighting to get millions of dollars in additional federal aid to help foot the bill for Medicaid. That’s the health program for the poor. But the measure is facing push-back on Capitol Hill.

Advocates say the $24 billion measure will prevent the poor from paying higher out-of-pocket expenses.

Last year’s stimulus package provided for the federal government to pick up a larger share of Medicaid payments to help states make ends meet. This latest proposal would extend that help.

The District stands to get about $113 million. Maryland would receive $447 million and Virginia $409 million. That’s according to numbers compiled by the group FamiliesUSA.

Executive Director Ron Pollack says states need reassurance as they work on their budgets.

“If they are not secure in knowing they are going to get this extra money, then they are going to possibly have to make some drastic changes,” says Pollack.

Lawmakers scrapped the Medicaid proposal from a tax and jobs related spending package that passed the House. Advocates are hoping for better luck in the Senate. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are increasingly worried about government spending.

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