Sweeney & Sarlo: $150 Million In New Stimulus Help Again Shows New Jersey Has A Partner In Washington

TRENTON – Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Budget and Appropriations Chairman Paul Sarlo today said an announcement by the federal Department of Health and Human Services that it will decrease the amount New Jersey will have to reimburse Medicare for some prescription drug payments shows once again how the state is being helped by the policies set by the Obama administration.

New Jersey will save $152,950,689 – or nearly 22 percent of what it would have otherwise owed the federal government.

“Once again, President Obama and his administration are showing not only that they understand the tremendous fiscal strains states like New Jersey are under, but that they are willing to step up to the plate to help us through these challenging times,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem).

Late yesterday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the department would apply an enhanced federal match to adjust the so-called “clawback payments” – the amount states reimburse the federal government for costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage for residents eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid – retroactive to October 1, 2008 and carried forward to the end of this year.

Absent the reduced clawback payment, the state would have owed $696,147,055.

“This is real money that now can be used to help balance the budget and hopefully protect some valuable state health programs from the chopping block,” said Sarlo (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic).