GOP Governors Seek To Axe Reform Provision on Medicaid Enrollment
Thirty-three governors and governors-elect today will ask the White House and legislators to eliminate a federal health reform law provision that says states that reduce Medicaid enrollment will lose federal matching funds, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Federal money on average accounts for 57% of states' Medicaid expenses.
Under the health reform law, states cannot change their Medicaid eligibility rules until they have a health insurance exchange in place. However, states can limit eligibility for higher-income adults who are not pregnant and do not have disabilities.
In a letter, the governors wrote, "The effect of the federal requirements is unconscionable. â¦ The federal requirements force governors to cut other critical state programs, such as education, in order to fund a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to Medicaid."
Medicaid enrollment totaled 47.8 million in 2009, up from 42.6 million in 2008. According to the Journal, the program "has become most states' top spending conundrum."
To avoid losing federal matching funds, some states have begun cutting optional Medicaid benefits, such as vision, dental and prescription services. Some states also have considered ending participation in the program all together (Adamy, Wall Street Journal, 1/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.