White House in Talks To Help States With Costs of Health Care Reform
President Obama is in discussions about methods of helping U.S. states cover costs that would rise under health care reform legislation (HR 3962, HR 3590), according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Reuters reports (Lambert, Reuters, 1/11).
Governors are vying for their states to receive a funding allocation similar to the one Nebraska received in the Senate reform bill that would fully fund its proposed Medicaid expansion.
New York Gov. David Paterson (D) and New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch (D) said they have spoken with officials in California and other states about building a coalition to expand federal Medicaid funding for all states (Gormley, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/12).
Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) urged the state's congressional delegation to vote against reform legislation unless it is reworked to provide more money to help California expand coverage.
Gibbs said that Obama and his administration are "going to continue to work with governors" on the matter. He said that expanding the Medicaid allocation to all states is "certainly part of the discussion" (Reuters, 1/11).
Meeting With Democrats
On Wednesday, the president is scheduled to meet with Democratic leaders to discuss merging the House and Senate health care reform bills into a final overhaul package, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Fram, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/13).
Among the meeting's attendees will be:
- House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.),
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.),
- House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller (D-Calif.),
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.),
- House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.),
- House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and
- Five members of the Senate Democratic leadership (Allen/Young, The Hill, 1/12).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to attend the meeting in person, even though his chamber is not in session (Drucker, Roll Call, 1/12).According to the AP/Union-Tribune, negotiators are hoping that Obama will help bridge some of the large divides between the House and Senate reform bills (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/13). 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.