National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Senate Passes Extended Medicaid FMAP for States

March 11, 2010

Yesterday, the Senate voted 62-36 in favor of extending higher federal Medicaid matching funds for the states (known as FMAP) for an additional six months, through June 30, 2011.  The FMAP increase, originally enacted in the 2009 economic recovery bill (known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA), provides fiscal relief to states by increasing the federal share of support for states’ Medicaid programs through Dec. 30, 2010.   Extended higher FMAP is critical to efforts at the state level to avoid further deep cuts to the already fragile public mental health system – including Medicaid financed mental health services in all 50 states.

The extended higher Medicaid FMAP is attached to legislation (HR 4213) that includes extensions of numerous expiring tax breaks and long-term extensions of unemployment benefits and subsidized COBRA health benefits for unemployed workers.  Similar legislation that includes the extended Medicaid FMAP, as well as extended unemployment and COBRA health benefits, passed the House in December.  The White House and congressional leaders are expected to press for quick action on a final bill that can be sent to the President.

Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund Excluded

In a major disappointment, the Senate passed a version of HR 4213 that does NOT include funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF).  By contrast, the House-passed version of the bill from December does include $1.2 billion for an initial capitalization of the NHTF as requested by the President.  The NHTF would provide an important new investment for development of affordable rental housing targeted to extremely low-income households, including single adults living on SSI. 

NAMI is now working with the National Low Income Housing Coalition to support the $1.2 billion allocation for the NHTF, along with $65 million for project-based vouchers to ensure that new rental units developed by the NHTF can serve individuals living on SSI.

View more information on the NHTF.