Senate Votes to Extend Federal Funding for State Medicaid Programs

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed a funding measure that includes a six-month extension of the enhanced federal funding level for state Medicaid programs. The measure passed on Thursday by a vote of 61-39.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed a funding measure that includes a six-month extension of the enhanced federal funding level for state Medicaid programs. The measure passed on Thursday by a vote of 61-39.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Alexandria, Va., has advocated for the continuation of the higher federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP), which was raised temporarily as a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enacted in 2009.

The House of Representatives plans to suspend its August district work period to reconvene in Washington, D.C. next week to vote on the measure. The House and Senate must pass the legislation in identical form before it can be sent to President Obama for signature and enactment.

The Senate vote, and the plans for House action, follow on the heels of the Senate’s 61-38 vote on Wednesday to invoke cloture, ending debate and moving forward with consideration of the legislation. That procedural vote was pivotal, as 60 votes were needed to invoke cloture.

“This enhanced federal funding of state Medicaid programs is important for the prevention of additional cuts to pharmacy services and pharmacy access at the state level,” said NACDS President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson in a press statement.

While advocating for the continuation of the enhanced FMAP level, NACDS also engaged in voicing pharmacy's position on a provision of the funding bill that would alter the definition of “average manufacturer price” (AMP) that was included in the new healthcare reform law. The provision was inserted to help pay for aspects of the funding bill.

NACDS has been advised that the AMP change is not intended to impact Medicaid community pharmacy reimbursement.