U.S. House extends Medicaid funding

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the extension of vital Medicaid funding, which was a top priority of the Jewish community.

The House voted Tuesday to extend the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, a formula used to determine how much Medicaid funding each state receives. It also helps fund education jobs. President Obama signed the bill into law that afternoon.

The six-month extension of FMAP had been a priority of the Jewish Federations of North America, as 60 cents on every dollar of public revenue brought in by the federations or their partner agencies comes from Medicaid.

“Without these funds, states would have certainly cut back on their Medicaid programs, which would have had an adverse impact on how Jewish communal providers deliver needed care to their respective communities,” said William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office, in a statement.

Daroff added that he was concerned that the new funding was made possible by reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which also has been a priority of the federations. However, as the reductions are not set to go into effect until 2014, Daroff said JFNA will work with Congress to find an alternative.

The FMAP money will prevent cuts that could have cost the Jewish community $150 million to $200 million in social services funding.

The Association of Jewish Aging Services, whose members often depend on Medicaid funding, applauded the bill’s passage.

“Special thanks go to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives for interrupting their annual August district workk period to come back to Washington and pass the long-awaited FMAP extension,” AJAS President Marla Gilson said in a statement.