Senate expected to take up enhanced Medicaid funding

The Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote Monday evening on a bill that includes enhanced federal Medicaid funding for states. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed for cloture Thursday evening on a substitute amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that includes enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for states.

The FMAP provision mirrors the phased-down increase in enhanced Medicaid funding that was included in the most recent version of the defeated tax extenders package. It would give states a 3.2 percent Medicaid funding boost for the first quarter of 2011 and 1.2 percent for the second quarter, at a cost of $16.1 billion.

State officials have been warning that failure to extend the enhanced FMAP payments approved in last year's recovery act past their Dec. 31 expiration date would result in tens of thousands of state employees being laid off and deep cuts to social services.

Reid's substitute also requires drug manufacturers to offer steeper discounts for certain types of drugs in the Medicaid program. The provision covers inhalation, infusion and injectable drugs not sold through retail pharmacies; it saves the federal government $2.1 billion over 10 years.