KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama’s Budget To Boost Medicaid Funding, Broaden Global Health Approach

President Obama's budget proposal tops $3.8 trillion, and would draw a $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2011 despite efforts to freeze and cut spending and channel an extra $100 billion to immediately attack the high unemployment rate, The Washington Post reports. "The 2011 blueprint repeats many of Obama's grandest ambitions from his first budget, including an expensive overhaul of the nation's health-care system' (Montgomery, 2/1).

"The White House will include an additional $25 billion in Medicaid funding for states in the federal budget to be released Monday, spending that Democrats originally hoped to include in their health overhaul," The Wall Street Journal reports, noting that this proposal shows "how the government is already adapting" to the changed scenario for health reform on Capitol Hill. The $25 billion is meant as a six-month extension to stimulus funding that began last February and is supposed to end Dec. 31 (Adamy, 1/31).

The New York Post reports, "The plan includes a 6.2 percent hike in the amount of money states get for Medicaid. States with higher unemployment rates would get even more help, White House officials said." A spokesman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke with cautious optimism about the program, saying it would be "critical aid" for the cash-strapped state. "With the economy in a tailspin, New York has seen its budget drained by expenses under the health program for the poor. In December alone, the state paid out $1.3 billion in Medicaid costs," the Post says (Fermino, 1/31).

"Large states with generous Medicaid programs such as California and New York stand to benefit most from the plan," the Associated Press/ABC News reports. "The administration argues the program provides a twofold benefit to states. First, it helps ensure Medicaid coverage for the poor and disabled. Advocates of the measure also say it helps states retain employees since the additional Medicaid money allows them to shift funds elsewhere" (Taylor, 1/29).

The White House budget is also expected to boost funding for global health programs, The Wall Street Journal reports in a separate story. "The new policy ...  retains HIV/AIDS as the administration's top funding priority, but will devote new funding to reducing deaths from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, poor nutrition and common treatable illnesses that kill millions every year, particularly women and children, according to people familiar with the new plan" (McKay, 1/31).

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