The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania urged Gov. Edward Rendell and state lawmakers to use federal economic stimulus funds to prevent proposed cuts to state Medicaid hospital payments. In February, the governor released a budget plan that reduced hospital payments by $20 million for the year starting July 1. The hospital trade group contends the cuts amount to $34.1 million, not including $24.5 million in state aid to specific hospitals.
The association, which estimated that Pennsylvania is expected to receive $4 billion through 2010 in federal aid to Medicaid, is calling for the state to erase the $34.1 million in cuts and bolster spending by another $20 million, said Roger Baumgarten, a spokesman for the group.
Stacey Witalec, a Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman, said extra Medicaid aid received for the year that ends June 30 will be used to prevent payment cuts to providers or benefit changes for enrollees and help erase the states $2.3 billion budget shortfall.