Raising Women’s Voices

Health Care and the States: Effects of the stimulus package

Posted in Affordability by raisingwomensvoices on March 6, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $789 billion economic stimulus bill, was signed into law by President Obama on February 18.  The bill includes an $87 billion provision to help states cover rising Medicaid costs, and allocates additional funds to aid states in subsidizing coverage options for the unemployed and furthering investment in health information technology.

The Commonwealth Fund has an in-depth analysis of expected effects of federal aid to states for the provision of increasingly expensive health care in the midst of tightening budgets everywhere.  The document also takes a look at the state-by-state impact of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2009, which will provide $32.8 billion through 2013 to cover 6.5 million more children under Medicaid and CHIP.

Some highlights below, but you’ll have to check this out for the full story.

  • Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), laid-off workers are allowed to buy into their former employers’ health plans, but studies show that only 9% of those eligible take advantage of COBRA.  The stimulus package provides a federal subsidy to cover 65% of COBRA premiums for up to nine months for people who have lost their jobs.
  • CHIP Reauthorization gives states the option to cover pregnant women with CHIP funds; eliminates the federal five-year waiting period previously imposed on legal immigrant children and pregnant women in Medicaid or CHIP; and establishes a new Medicaid commission, similar to the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee, to evaluate children’s access to care and payment policies in Medicaid and CHIP.

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