News Releases

February 08, 2010

Governor Douglas Urges Congress to Allow State Greater Medicaid Flexibility

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas, along with NGA Vice-Chair Governor Joe Manchin (D-WV), sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to extend the federal Medicaid match (FMAP) for two additional quarters, while modifying the maintenance of effort requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Governors and state legislators across the country are working hard to fill budget gaps and invest in a robust economic recovery,” Governor Douglas said. “While additional federal assistance will help in the short term, my colleagues and I are seeking greater flexibility to invest in strategic efforts to make state budgets sustainable for the future.”

The recession has created enormous fiscal challenges for states. Between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2011, states will have faced a cumulative $256 billion in budget gaps. This year alone, Vermont is addressing a $150 million gap in the State General Fund budget.

“The budget I proposed to the General Assembly last month did not rely on additional federal funds,” the Governor noted. “But if we do receive additional support from Washington, we must use that money to invest in ways to make our budget sustainable. If we use these funds to support unsustainable programs, Vermonters will be faced with even larger shortfalls in the years to come.”

If Vermont’s fiscal 2011 shortfall was to be filled exclusively by one-time funds, the fiscal 2012 shortfall would be roughly a quarter billion dollars. Fortunately, efforts, such as “Challenges for Change,” are underway to meet these challenges and make state government more sustainable.

In the letter, Governor Douglas and Governor Manchin wrote, “Governors are committed to encouraging job creation and speeding recovery and urge you to work with us by extending FMAP enhancements and restoring state flexibility over Medicaid as soon as possible.”

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: February 08, 2010 11:04:14