House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Will Not Make Appointment to Federal Medicaid Commission
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Joe Barton (R-Texas) on Monday said he will not make an appointment to the federal Medicaid commission charged with recommending short- and long-term reforms to the program, CongressDaily reports (Heil, CongressDaily, 7/12).
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday announced 13 voting members and 15 nonvoting members of the commission. The committee is required by Sept. 1 to submit a report with recommendations on how to reduce Medicaid spending growth by $10 billion over the next five years. The second report, due Dec. 31, 2006, will include recommendations for stabilizing Medicaid over the long term (California Healthline, 7/11).
Congressional leaders of both parties were to select eight lawmakers to serve as nonvoting members. However, congressional Democrats have refused to participate because they "fundamentally disagreed with the commission's mission" of cutting Medicaid spending, CongressDaily reports.
Barton is satisfied with the "diverse makeup of the commission" and plans to focus on "developing Medicaid reform legislation," according to a spokesperson. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have yet to appoint members (CongressDaily, 7/12).