Governors Decide Not To Participate in Federal Medicaid Study Commission
The National Governors Association's executive committee on Wednesday unanimously agreed not to join a new Medicaid study commission, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (Tanner, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/1). As part of the fiscal year 2006 budget resolution approved by Congress in April, lawmakers created a commission to recommend ways to cut $10 billion from Medicaid over five years. The commission also will propose long-term solutions to slow the program's rising costs.
Democratic congressional leaders on May 26 announced they would not participate in the commission, following HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt's announcement that he would appoint the commission's 15 voting members, and that no legislators would be given votes (California Healthline, 5/27).
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), NGA vice chair, said, "We think the commission will take a bit longer to get going than the governors are," adding, "We have things ready on the table." Huckabee said that to "start all over with the commission will only slow the process down." NGA staff will be available to assist the commission.
HHS spokesperson Christina Pearson said the agency hopes to continue a dialogue with the governors. NGA's executive committee also adopted a policy that says "[c]omprehensive Medicaid reform must focus both on reforming Medicaid and on strengthening other forms of health insurance and long-term care coverage."
Huckabee and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D), NGA chair, plan to announce specific ideas on Medicaid changes to congressional committees later this month. A working group of governors has been building a proposal for the past four months and likely will seek full NGA approval for the plan at NGA's annual meeting in July (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/1).
C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Thursday included an interview with Huckabee about the group's decision to not participate in federal Medicaid reform ("Washington Journal," C-SPAN, 6/2). The complete segment will be available online in RealPlayer and Windows Media after the broadcast.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.