Tim Pawlenty dismisses federal Medicaid money he uses to balance the state's budget


It's fashionable for Republican lawmakers to trash the Obama administration's federal stimulus package as a waste of money, even as they line up for photo ops at projects those funds have made possible.

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Tim Pawlenty, a regular stimulus trasher, hasn't signed a letter from 47 of the nation's governors asking Congress to extend federal Medicaid money that comes from the stimulus package.

Here's the text of the letter:

On behalf of the nation's governors we write to request your assistance in protecting jobs and speeding economic recovery by extending the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (ARRA) enhanced federal match for Medicaid (FMAP) for two additional quarters.

Unfortunately, the length and depth of the recession means states and territories will continue to face significant budget shortfalls long after the enhanced FMAP provisions expire at the end of this calendar year.

States and territories are in the process of finalizing budgets for FY 2011 that our legislatures will be considering over the next several months. Timely passage of an extension of ARRA's enhanced FMAP would greatly assist us in maintaining services and further stabilizing the economy.

To maximize the positive impact of FMAP enhancements on the economy, Congress should also modify ARRA's existing maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions. Restoring flexibility to manage our Medicaid programs and enact common sense reforms is critical to ensuring the program's ongoing and future stability.

Governors appreciated the inclusion of enhanced FMAP provisions in ARRA. We are committed to encouraging job creation and speeding recovery and urge you to work with us by extending FMAP enhancements and restoring state flexibility over Medicaid as soon as possible.

More at the Strib.