Health Care Reform Means Additional Assistance For Vermont Medicaid

(May 26, 2010) - During the debate earlier this year on health insurance reform, Senator Leahy worked to ensure that states that took early action to cover more people through Medicaid were not punished for acting early.  Under the original Senate bill, Vermont was one of only two states that would not have received any additional federal assistance for the state’s Medicaid program, simply for acting early to do the right thing. 

Senator Leahy, in collaboration with other Senators, agreed upon a policy that would treat Vermont and other “early leader” states fairly.  If this injustice had remained in the Senate bill, then Vermont taxpayers would have been forced to shoulder an extra burden while all other states received extra federal funding. 

A study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week found that the federal government will largely pay for the historic expansion of the Medicaid program contained in the health insurance reform law.  The study also shows that some states will even see a reduction in their projected Medicaid spending from 2014-2019.   Vermont, a state that has been a national leader in expending Medicaid to vulnerable populations, can expect to see a 0.6 percent reduction in its Medicaid spending when the provision takes effect in 2014. 

The Kaiser report confirms that expanded health insurance coverage will be possible without placing an undue burden on states.  To read the full Kaiser Family Foundation report describing states and Medicaid funding, click here.

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