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2 congressional chairmen seek cuts in Medicaid

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Two congressional committee chairmen want Congress to consider cutting “optional” Medicaid eligibility and benefit categories to  help control the now fast growth of Medicaid spending.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R.-Ore.) asked the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission to  write a detailed report on Medicaid’s optional benefits and eligibility groups as guidance in finding ways to cut program spending.

While spending in Medicare is also surging, and that program is much bigger than Medicaid, older people vote at much higher  rates than do those who are poorer and younger.  GOP voters tend to be older and more affluent than Democratic ones.


Thus, Medicaid spending is much more often the target of GOP budget cutters than is Medicare, although the latter is much more costly.

Modern Healthcare speculated that the new focus “could mean that Republicans recognize they need to examine alternative ways of curbing Medicaid spending other than restructuring Medicaid by converting it from an entitlement to a program of capped federal contributions to the states. Critics say such capped payments, in the form of state block grants or per-capita payments, would force states to cut benefits, eligibility and reimbursements to providers.” That could produce some big political headaches for the GOP.

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