WASHINGTON -- Massachusetts, under a deal finalized today with the federal government, is slated to receive upwards of $150 million in additional Medicaid funding that will help shore up hospitals that treat many of the state's low-income patients, including Boston Medical Center and Cambridge Health Alliance.
The funding comes on top of roughly $300 million that the federal government already agreed to pay for the purpose last fall. Senator John F. Kerry helped lobby the Obama administration for the additional funding.
"It was really key that we do this, it was critical," Kerry said in an interview this afternoon. "We've got safety net hospitals that are on the brink. The lack of this (funding) would have been devastating to our hospitals."
The state's so-called safety net hospitals have been struggling since 2006, when the state's ground-breaking health insurance law phased out special payments to BMC and Cambridge Hospital for treating the poor. These payments are now being used to subsidize health coverage for thousands of newly insured residents.
According to the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, 98.1 percent of Massachusetts residents now have health insurance, including 99.8 percent of children. The new federal health care law will provide additional Medicaid funding for hospitals like Boston Medical Center, but not until 2014. The infusions of federal funding are intended to bolster those institutions in the meantime.
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About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.