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FMAP Vote Expected Today - Millions for MA at Stake

August 4, 2010

BOSTON - The U.S. Senate could vote today on the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (F-MAP), legislation that includes $26 billion, part of which would reimburse states for Medicaid costs.

Massachusetts' share of the money has already been factored into next year's state budget. Carolyn Villers, executive director of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, says if the bill does not pass, home care services for seniors will take a $12 million dollar hit.

"Which will lead to extending a waiting list of seniors that are currently eligible for home care but unable to receive those services."

If the bill passes, it will help fill the roughly $700 million dollar hole in the state budget. That would minimize cuts to a host of programs, as well as preserving some teachers' jobs in public schools. Without the federal funds, Villers says the state should expect another round of layoffs.

"Not only folks that receive services, but many that provide services will actually lose their jobs, which of course will add to our long unemployment list."

If the Senate approves its version of the bill, a final agreement might not be reached until after summer recess. The bill, which is largely supported by Democrats, has had significant opposition from Republicans who have already criticized previous versions for adding too much to the nation's deficit. Sen. Scott Brown has said he will not vote in favor.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA