The nation's governors are will be in Washington this weekend for the National Governors Association winter meeting. Budget issues, especially related to Medicaid spending and other health costs, will be a hot topic. Already, the administration is seeking to sooth state executives' nerves regarding the costs of implementing the health care law by reiterating a message of flexibility. Meanwhile, though, some progressive groups are preparing for a showdown regarding Medicaid eligibility requirements.
The Hill's Healthwatch Blog: Groups Urge Congress To Keep Medicaid Requirements
[P]rogressive groups are now gearing up for a showdown with state governors looking to slash Medicaid and children's health programs. The pro-reform Families USA and 129 groups have signed on to a new letter calling on House members to maintain the reform law's requirement for states to maintain Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility standards. The letter will be released Tuesday morning before governors ask the House Energy and Commerce Committee for a reprieve from healthcare reform's Medicaid requirements as they grapple with massive budget deficits (Millman, 2/25).
CNN: Ambitious Governors Shift Political Power, Focus To States
The battle over union rights in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana has dramatically shifted the budget debate from Capitol Hill to the states, almost overshadowing the threat of a government shutdown in in Washington next week. ... In Missouri, Oregon, California and New York, lawmakers are cutting billions of dollars from their budgets by reforming state pension plans, squeezing more out of state workers for health care costs and slashing teacher salaries. Many of those governors are choosing, however, to negotiate with unions, rather than to attack them head-on. ... [Meanwhile] Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York introduced a budget featuring drastic cuts to education and Medicaid that would lay off thousands of state workers. California Gov. Jerry Brown, facing a $25 billion budget shortfall, has proposed more than $6 billion in health care and welfare cuts (Hamby, 2/25).
Kaiser Health News: HHS To Governors: You Have Flexibility On Health Reform Implementation
With the nation's governors about to descend on Washington for their winter meeting, the Department of Health and Human Services today continued its campaign to calm their concerns that the health law is too expensive and complex for cash-strapped states to implement (Carey, 2/25).