New federal Medicaid funds for PA

    The new federal stimulus package will help Pennsylvania pay for its Medical Assistance program.

    As part of the federal stimulus package President Obama signed into law on Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare is getting a lot of help paying for its largest expense.

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    The Commonwealth will get about 4 billion additional federal dollars to provide Medicaid to state residents over the next three years. DPW spokeswoman Stacy Witalec says it will be the biggest boost to Medicaid funding the federal government has ever given Pennsylvania.
     
    Witalec: The federal share of Medical Assistance funding will probably increase to about 63 percent initially, and then rise to about 65 percent, again by 2011.
     
    The state and federal government split the cost of providing health care to low-income people. Right now federal money pays about 54 percent of the bill.
     
    Experts say federal lawmakers built the change into the new stimulus package because more Americans will need help with health care as the recession deepens.
     
    According to state estimates, about 2 million people will participate in the Medical Assistance program in the coming fiscal year. That’s a 3.2 percent increase over this year.

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