KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Governors Seek More Medicaid Flexibility

Although not all Republican governors are pushing to change Medicaid into a block-grant program, there seems to be general agreement for seeking greater flexibility in how states spend Medicaid dollars. Reports also persist that some Democratic lawmakers appear open to plans to chip away at Medicaid's requirements.  

Modern Healthcare: GOP Governors Push For Medicaid Changes
Republican governors endorsed transforming Medicaid into a block-grant program with funding caps and urged repeal of the 2010 healthcare reform law (Daly, 6/13). 

Fox News: GOP Governors Ask Washington To Give States More Flexibility On Medicaid
Frustrated with the rising costs of providing health care to their poorer constituents, Republican governors from 29 states sent a letter to lawmakers in Washington on Monday demanding greater flexibility in administering Medicaid dollars. "About 20 years ago, it used to be about 5 percent of the budget and now it's four times that amount, so it's a huge concern," Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell said. "We've got to find ways to reduce Medicaid spending." Governors of both parties have lots of ideas on how to better manage the program, which is used by 60 million Americans, with costs split between the federal and state governments. But as long as they're getting federal contributions, the Obama administration bans (states) from changing their programs without approval from Washington (Angle, 6/13). 

The Tulsa World: Fallin Among Governors Seeking Stat Management Of Health Funding
Gov. Mary Fallin joined 28 other Republican governors Monday in a united proposal to reform Medicaid by giving states more freedom in spending health care funding for the poor. The group addressed a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Finance, and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In the letter, the governors called on Congress to repeal President Barack Obama's health care initiative and reform Medicaid along seven "guiding principles" (Greene, 6/14). 

CQ HealthBeat: Mann: Not All States Want Block Grants
Governors on both sides of the aisle are often depicted as favoring major changes in Medicaid so they can better control the state portion of the program's costs. But the top federal official who oversees Medicaid says it's a mistake to say all state chief executives want to fix federal payments through block grants (Reichard, 6/13).

Politico: Some Senate Dems Demur On Medicaid
There may be more to read from what wasn't included in Sen. Jay Rockefeller's letter to the White House last week than what was in it. Multiple letters released June 9 - designed to show that Senate Democrats won't support efforts to dismantle Medicaid - didn't mention the Republican proposals to repeal the program's maintenance of effort provisions. And they didn't include 12 Democratic senators who some worry may be persuaded to join Republican efforts to chip away at the program (Millman and Haberkorn, 6/13).

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