WASHINGTON -- Legislation rushed through Congress last week easing new Medicaid financing rules will help states in the short run by giving them generous transition rules, but the long-term consequences of the measure are still unclear, lobbyists and rating agency officials said yesterday.

The measure was approved in response to states' complaints about Health Care Financing Administration rules that were issued Sept. 12 and had been scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. Those rules were designed to prevent a state from counting certain tax revenues or donations from hospitals toward the contributions it makes to Medicaid that are eligible for matching federal funds.

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