Governors Tell Obama They Back Reform but Some Concerns Linger
At the White House on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of governors met with President Obama and expressed both their support for health reform and concerns about how such action could affect individual states financially, the Washington Post reports.
The governors in attendance were:
- Jim Douglas (R-Vt.);
- Jim Doyle (D-Wis.);
- Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.);
- Chris Gregoire (D-Wash.); and
- Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).
Each has hosted regional health care forums this year to hear and evaluate concerns about the current health care system.
According to White House officials, Obama began the meeting by pitching the need for reform, saying that the status quo is unsustainable because of increasing costs that hurt families, businesses and state and federal governments. In addition, he reiterated his commitment to overhauling the current system without adding to the federal budget deficit and by creating new incentives to control costs.
As increasing Medicaid costs continue to burden state budgets, the governors agreed with Obama that a system overhaul is necessary. However, they spoke against any reform efforts that would push new costs onto states.
Granholm said, "If we're going to add more population onto the Medicaid rolls, there has to be a way to pay for that" (Fletcher, Washington Post, 6/25).
Obama said that some of the governors disagreed while discussing different reform proposals, including a public plan option.
Obama said, "There's no perfect unanimity across the table in terms of every single aspect of reform."
However, such issues did not dominate the discussion, according to the governors.
Granholm said, "We have a difference of opinion among Democrats and Republicans about the public option thing, but we do have common ground," adding, "We didn't really spend much time on the areas that we didn't have a common ground on" (Lee/Budoff Brown, Politico, 6/24).
Obama said that, despite differing opinions on reform proposals, he is "committed to working with [the governors] in the weeks and months to come" in order to achieve health reform "in partnership with the states" (Silva, "The Swamp," Chicago Tribune, 6/25).
ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" on Wednesday reported on the meeting (Tapper, "World News with Charles Gibson," ABC, 6/24).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.