Medicaid: Who Will Pay?
Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, in Kaiser Health News examines the current “tug of war” between states and the federal government over who should put up the cash to maintain Medicaid. As most states deal with large budget deficits, many governors have taken issue with a provision in the federal health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility standards for the program until 2014, or face a loss of federal matching funding for the program.
In January, 33 governors and governors-elect wrote to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders requesting “flexibility and relief” from the “excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates.” States say they need to trim their Medicaid rolls now because they already are swimming in red ink and this circumstance will only get worse – partly because stimulus funding that initially helped many of them pay for the added enrollment ends in June. And, while Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has responded by sending her agency’s Medicaid experts to the states to help them explore options to trim Medicaid spending, she is still urging states to do everything they can to keep Medicaid enrollment at current levels before the health law’s changes take effect in 2014.
These pleas for flexibility are bipartisan.
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