KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP Governors Push For Medicaid Flexibility As Part Of Debt-Cutting Deal

These Republican officials argue that as federal funding for Medicaid has expanded, so has federal control. Their argument to include the measure in debt-ceiling legislation is raising concern among some Medicaid advocates.

Bloomberg: Republican Governors Seek Medicaid Flexibility
Republican governors are renewing a push for more flexibility in running Medicaid health programs for the poor, urging Congress to roll changes into a debt-cutting deal federal lawmakers are negotiating. Twenty-nine Republican governors asked for more independence from the U.S. in designing and running programs in a June 13 letter to Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Medicaid is being expanded as part of the 2010 U.S. health-care overhaul. "As federal funding has expanded, so has federal control," the letter said. "States should not have to seek waivers to manage their unique programs" (Armstrong, 6/15).

Fox News (Video): GOP Governors Want More Flexibility On Medicaid Spending
Former Va. Governor Jim Gilmore argues Medicaid should be tailored to each community (6/15).

Kaiser Health News: Hatch Urges Changes To End Medicaid 'Gulag'
In this Kaiser Health News short take, Juan E. Gastelum reports: "Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, bolstered by the backing of more than two dozen Republican governors, stepped up his push to gain support for relaxing Medicaid's maintenance of effort rules" (Gastelum, 6/15).

The Hill: Hatch Vague On Attaching Medicaid Cuts To Debt Vote Deal
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Wednesday he believes he can marshal bipartisan support for a bill to let states cut their Medicaid programs, but he didn't indicate whether the bill's cost savings could help it find a place in a deal on the debt ceiling. Medicaid advocates are openly concerned about Hatch's bill, which would repeal "maintenance of effort" (MOE) provisions in the health care reform law that block states from cutting Medicaid eligibility before 2014 (Baker, 6/15).

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