Stimulus Package Includes $90 billion for Medicaid

January 19, 2009

Democratic House leadership announced this past Thursday that the proposed $850 billion economic stimulus plan includes a $90 billion shot in the arm to states by way of a temporary increase to the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, as well as a few bundled programs, the most notable of which is $20 billion to hospitals and physicians to jump start EMR programs.  

Generally, the proposed stimulus package has come under not inconsiderable scrutiny because of a perceived lack of oversight in how the dollars will be spent.  However, many critics see this as a backlash from the complete lack of oversight when the first half of the so-called “financial system bail out” was delivered.  At any rate, the Medicaid component of the new stimulus plan is not immune to critics who wonder aloud whether the taxpayers will be getting the most bang for these billions of bucks.  

For example, McKnight’s reports that civil rights groups are particularly concerned about tying EMR adoption to these funds, without setting up a privacy assurance protocol/oversight committee.  What has not been mentioned is the connection between this money and the Deficit Reduction Act (discussed, obliquely, here) and whether the DRA programs may be a “shovel ready” protocol that could watch-dog the delivery of this money.

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