December 21, 2005: NORTON GETS $20 MILLION ANNUAL MEDICAID INCREASE FOR D.C.

Jan 9, 2006
Press Release

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2005

NORTON GETS $20 MILLION ANNUAL MEDICAID INCREASE FOR D.C.

Washington, DC—As the Senate prepares to vote on the House passed budget reconciliation bill, the Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that the District will receive a $20 million dollar annual increase in federal Medicaid funds that she got included in the House version. The Congresswoman has been strenuously arguing for several years that this amount was due the District in order to correct an error in the formula that the District suffered when the 1997 Balanced Budget Act was enacted.  The new formula raises D.C.’s Medicaid reimbursement payments to $57 million at a time when there will be cuts in other Medicaid funds. Norton said, “Finally, the District will get relief from an expensive mistake by the Congress. With unconscionable cuts now occurring in Medicaid, these funds could not be more welcome.”

Norton has come close to getting a new calculation for D.C. in prior years as Medicaid corrections were made in the Congress for other states, and the increase for the District was approved in the House and not the Senate until now, when the funds are in the budget reconciliation conference report.   Norton got a similar error in the federal reimbursement rate for uncompensated care fixed and raised in 1999 for an additional $17 million, but continued to fight for additional compensation for services that she argued the District was due.   The fight for Medicaid funds is more contentious and harder to achieve than most, whatever the reason, because of an unusually firm federal government policy against increases for individual states.

In 1997, the Congresswoman was successful in winning the first congressional change in D.C.’s unusually harsh Medicaid formula that had been among the lowest in the country.  The Medicaid change was one of the most important in the Revitalization Act that relieved or lowered the city’s responsibility from several states costs.