Governors Express Concerns About Cost of Medicaid Expansion
On Sunday, governors attending the National Governors Association's summer meeting in Biloxi, Miss., expressed concern that health care reform legislation will include a costly Medicaid expansion that would place a greater financial burden on states, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, the role states will play after the health care system is overhauled "dominated" the meeting.
Legislation being considered in the House and Senate would expand Medicaid as a means of working toward universal health coverage.
Incoming NGA Chair Jim Douglas (R-Vt.) said, "I think the governors would all agree that what we don't want from the federal government is unfunded mandates," adding, "We can't have the Congress impose requirements that we are forced to absorb beyond our capacity to do so."
Governors already are having difficulties funding Medicaid in the face of declining revenue and higher enrollment as more state residents become unemployed and lose their health coverage. Medicaid funding gaps are expected to increase in 2010, according to the Times (Sack/Pear, New York Times, 7/20).
Finance Committee Meeting
On Wednesday, a group of governors spoke with Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) about the issue.
In an e-mail Saturday, Finance Committee spokesperson Erin Shields wrote, "Chairman Baucus is aware of the states' concerns related to financing changes to the Medicaid program and will continue to work closely with them to address their concerns" (Balz, Washington Post, 7/19).After meeting with the governors on Sunday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that "there's a recognition that states don't have cash right now" and that "it's difficult to send states the bill if they don't have the money" (New York Times, 7/20). 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.