States Unlikely to Get Extra Medicaid Funds, Pennsylvania's Rendell Says

There is “less than a 50-50” chance Congress will approve the $11.6 billion in extra federal Medicaid assistance U.S. states have included in their current budgets, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said today.

Rendell, 66, called the denial of funding “a disaster” in an interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television’s InsideTrack today. He said he spoke about the issue last night with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

Faced with concern that the federal deficit is swelling, the Senate twice has failed to generate the 60 votes needed to bring the proposal to a vote. The loss of the extended Medicaid funding will cost more than 200,000 government jobs, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Inc.

In Pennsylvania, Rendell said 20,000 teachers, police and government workers will be fired if the $848 million in extra federal aid included in his $28 billion budget isn’t approved.

“We’re seeing real momentum starting to build” in Pennsylvania’s economy, Rendell said today, citing 80,000 new jobs created in his state this year. “It would be a disaster not to do this.”

Pennsylvania, the sixth-most-populous U.S. state, is among 31 states that included money from the federal government’s proposed six-month extension of enhanced Medicaid aid in their current budgets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Photographer: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell. Close

Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell.

Photographer: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell.

California, which along with Illinois is the state with the lowest credit rating from Moody’s, is counting on the most, $1.7 billion, state budget documents show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dunstan McNichol in Trenton, New Jersey, at

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