In May House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sent a joint letter to Republican governors seeking their guidance in reforming and improving the Medicaid program. In responding to this request, the Health Care Task Force of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee (RGPPC) produced a report, describing in detail the seven guiding principles for improving the Medicaid program that they initially laid out in June. “ New Medicaid: A Flexible, Innovative, and Accountable Future” also offers over thirty policy solutions which center around the premise that governors best know the needs of their states, and therefore should be granted the flexibility needed to run the program without interference from the federal government. Other recommendations include requests to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the accompanying Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision, efforts to grant states’ flexibility without the requesting waivers or going through the formal state amendment process, streamlining eligibility determination through the use of private entities, and the authority to eliminate certain mandatory benefits.
Upton and Hatch welcomed the ideas laid out in the report as evidence of the partnership that they are building with governors around Medicaid reform. They also agree with the RGPPC that the enactment of the ACA places a financial burden on states that prohibits states from focusing on providing care to the neediest populations. In the past, Hatch and Upton championed efforts to repeal the MOE requirements that were included in the ACA. CWLA has previously reported on the negative consequences of repealing the ACA and the MOE provisions, specifically the fact that it would jeopardize services for vulnerable children and families. Upton and Hatch stopped short of outlining Congress’ next steps, but noted that the report would serve as the basis for the RGPPC’s upcoming Health Care Summit in October, which is open to all stakeholders.
Once Congress reconvenes, CWLA will be monitoring the ongoing process to reform the Medicaid program. We will continue to work with policymakers to strengthen the program and ensure that they understand the importance of mandatory benefits like the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program and the role that they play in the care of children.