McMorris Rodgers & Gregoire Meet on Medicaid Reform

Feb 24, 2011
Health Care
Press

Renew Bipartisan Commitment to Change System Causing Fiscal Crunch in Washington State

Olympia, WA– Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Gov. Christine Gregoire held a meeting on Medicaid reform today, reaffirming their commitment to work together in a bipartisan way to address this urgent issue which is threatening to reduce health care access and increase costs in Washington State and across America.

“I am concerned by the federal government’s new requirement on the states to expand the Medicaid program.  This will not only threaten the quality of care for our most vulnerable citizens, it will also open a hole in Washington State’s budget, putting us at risk for higher taxes and spending cuts in other vital programs, “ said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.  

The controversial Patient and Protection and Affordable Care Act – which was signed into law last year – imposes a Medicaid Maintenance of Eligibility restriction on the states that prohibits local elected officials from making reductions. This restriction – combined with looming state budget deficits – means Governors and legislators are faced with the painful decision of funding state-only health-care programs or providing matching funds for federal Medicaid dollars.  They can't do both.

On Feb. 16, 2011, the Seattle Times published an op-ed by Rep. McMorris Rodgers and Jason Mercier, Director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center, on the urgent need for Medicaid transformation.  In their op-ed, they wrote, “Unless states are provided more flexibility over Medicaid spending they will be forced to either opt out of the program or eliminate state-only health-care priorities. A better strategy would be for Congress to transform the current categorically restricted Medicaid program, which is dictated by D.C. priorities, into an indexed block-grant program that would allow each state to design a comprehensive state-based health-care system that meets the unique needs and priorities of its citizens while protecting the most vulnerable.”  To read the full op-ed, click here

On Mar. 1, 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee – on which Rep. McMorris Rodgers sits – will hold a hearing entitled, “The Consequences of ObamaCare: Impact on Medicaid and State Health Care Reform.”

Last month, State Sens. Linda Evans Parlette, Joe Zarelli, Randi Becker and Minority Leader Mike Hewitt introduced Senate Bill 5596 to require the Department of Social and Health Services to request an indexed Medicaid block-grant waiver to "allow the state to operate as a laboratory of innovation for bending the cost curve, preserving the safety net, and improving the management of care for low-income populations."

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