Governors' Medicaid, Budget Concerns Trigger Debate

As governors took to Capitol Hill this week to talk about their state budgets, Medicaid and the implementation of the health law, more attention was focused on the issues and cost estimates involved in the debate.

NPR's Shots blog: How Much Will Federal Health Law Cost States? Depends Whom You Ask
Ahead of a Tuesday House hearing on Medicaid, a particular sore spot, and the health law, the Republican staffs of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Finance Committee put together a report that "conservatively estimates that PPACA will cost state taxpayers at least $118.04 billion through 2023" in increased state Medicaid costs alone. (Emphasis theirs.) But the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the GOP report "grossly exaggerates" the cost to states. (Emphasis NPR's.) ... "The cost to states over this period will be $60 billion – just 2.6 percent more than what they would have spent on Medicaid without health reform," [analyst January] Angeles wrote. Why the difference? Other studies (including some cited by Angeles) suggest estimates that focused on increases in state costs failed to look at areas where states might also reap savings (Rovner, 3/2).

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Haley Barbour's Medicaid Fantasy
Haley Barbour's colorful remark, made to The Washington Post while attending a National Governors Association meeting in Washington this week, recalls Ronald Reagan's description of a "welfare queen" living high on government largess, driving a Cadillac. In Reagan's telling, she bilked the government out of $150,000, when the actual case involved $8,000. … Let's see if there is any basis for Barbour's claim (Kessler, 3/2).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: GOP Governors Seek To Modify Medicaid Programs
Republican governors are asking Washington for more flexibility regarding how they run their Medicaid programs, saying that Washington puts too many restraints on states. Separately, the House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation that would repeal a provision in the health law that would require businesses to submit a 1099 form to the Internal Revenue Service for any goods or services over $600 (3/2). Watch the video.

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.