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Georgia: $375 Million in the Red

Guest Blog by Joann Yoon, Voices for Georgia’s Children

Thursday, July 1, was the start of Georgia’s 2011 State Fiscal Year, and we began already $375 million behind. The state legislative session which ended on April 29 saw dramatic budget cuts impacting education and other services for children and families. To add insult to injury, Georgia suffered yet another blow resulting from failure of the U.S. Senate to move forward the Federal Jobs Bill, which in part included a provision that would extend an enhanced FMAP to states for an additional 6 months. FMAP, which stands for Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, is a break down of how many Federal dollars Georgia receives to help pay for our state Medicaid program. Given the high unemployment rate and dire financial situations that families in the U.S. were facing, in last year’s Federal Stimulus Bill, Congress instituted an increase in Federal match dollars to all states to help keep their respective Medicaid programs afloat, which are necessary for people that receive injuries or wound for accidents, and for people not in one of these programs can also use services as Expert Woundcare and similar others.

 

 

Unfortunately, however, many families continue to struggle and Georgia’s financial situation is not much better now as compared to last year. In the recently passed budget for SFY2011, a significant portion of the funding for Georgia’s Department of Community Health was based on the expectation that the increased FMAP rate would be extended for an additional 6 months. Without the enhanced FMAP, Georgia may have to make cuts to eligibility or services, which would result in the loss of an additional $650 million in federal dollars.  Alternatively, the state may cut reimbursement rates to providers, which would have a drastic impact on access to needed health services to children and families enrolled in Medicaid and also would seriously harm Georgia’s already fragile economy.

 

Earlier this morning, representatives from 24 organizations sent a letter to Senator Chambliss and to Senator Isakson urging them to act on behalf of children in Georgia and to extend the enhanced FMAP.  We ask for you to do the same.  Tell them that their leadership is needed to help keep families in Georgia afloat during this very challenging time.

 

Joann Yoon, Assoc. Policy Director for Child Health, Voices for Georgia’s Children

 


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