Leahy Announces Big Medicaid Win for Vt

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Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Saturday that Vermont Medicaid payments will increase by $250 million for six years in the health reform plan under consideration by the U.S. Senate.

Leahy said his provision is included in an amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

According to Leahy, the additional matching Medicaid money would be available between 2014 and 2019.

Leahy said in a press release that the issue is the federal match rate for states. He said that the Senate reform bill requires states to expand Medicaid programs to cover more low-income people. Meanwhile, the bill increases Medicaid payments for the additional coverage. But Leahy says Vermont already has expanded its coverage and would have been penalized under the bill.

The announcement also said that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., strongly supported the changes for Vermont.

The changes in the Senate health care reform bill also were a big win for Nebraska. The Associated Press reported that Sen. Ben Nelson became the 60th vote in favor of the bill because of the amendment. One of the provisions  for Nebraska is that the federal government would pick up the state’s entire cost of Medicaid expansion in the bill.

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