Senate Committee Passes Budget Amendment -- Jan. 28, 1997
Clinton Takes Sharp Questions On Fund-Raising -- Jan. 28, 1997
Governors May Oppose Medicaid Proposals
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 31) -- A draft policy statement from the nation's governors indicates they will oppose a key section of President Bill Clinton's balanced budget plan to cap payments to Medicaid recipients.
Clinton aims to squeeze $20 billion in savings from the program, which gives poor people an entitlement to health care, in part by fixing federal contributions per recipient, and pegging any increases to the country's economic output.
The draft policy, which could become official at the National Governors Association's annual Washington conference this weekend, expresses concern that Washington lawmakers will pass Medicaid costs onto state governments, without giving them the flexibility to set guidelines for coverage and care.
Mandates from Washington have long been a concern of the nation's governors. They scored a major victory in 1995 when Congress passed a law to end unfunded mandates on state government. Total Medicaid spending last year was $159 billion, of which $67 billion (42 percent) was paid for by state governments.
Clinton's proposal appears to split the difference between his desire to maintain Medicaid as a federal entitlement and Republican lawmakers' efforts, pursued unsuccessfully in the 104th Congress, to transform the program into a system of block grants, with state governments setting guidelines for coverage.
It's an approach most governors favor, Democratic and Republican alike. Though Clinton favored the block grant approach as governor of Arkansas, he has vigorously opposed it as president, saying it would undermine the nation's commitment to provide for all its citizens.
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