Governors Want Reform Law Changed So They Can Reduce Medicaid Coverage

Republican governors are demanding changes in the healthcare reform law so that states would be able to cut Medicaid enrollment and balance their budgets, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Thirty-three Republican governors and governors-elect plan to send a letter to the White House and congressional leaders today requesting the change. Currently, the reform law would remove federal funding from states that drop Medicaid enrollees.

States are already reducing payments for providers and making cuts in parts of Medicaid that aren't affected by the rule, such as nonessential benefits for adults. Even Andrew Cuomo, the new Democratic governor of New York, is considering $2.1 billion Medicaid cuts in the next fiscal year. The problem will deepen in June, when enhanced federal funding for state Medicaid programs expires.

However, supporters of the rule said allowing states to remove millions of poor people from Medicaid would be a hardship and would make it more difficult for states to reach the goal of adding 16 million Americans to the Medicaid rolls in 2014 under the reform law.

At least six states have talked of completely opting out of Medicaid. However, Texas Governor Rick Perry recently backed off from such plans, after a state report indicated ending Medicaid would have a devastating effect on healthcare for children and the poor. The state reported it would cost an additional $9.1 billion to retain its current Medicaid service levels through 2013.

Read the Wall Street Journal report on Medicaid.

Read more on Medicaid:

-Several States Discuss Ending Medicaid

-Texas Governor Backs Away From Plans to Exit Medicaid, Following State Report

-Healthcare Spending Logged Historically Low Increase in 2009

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