GOP governors are beginning to push back against Obama administration Medicaid rules that require states to maintain current levels of coverage for the poor and disabled despite the budget problems states are currently facing. President Barack Obama has the power to relax the rules so states can tighten eligibility, The Washington Post reports.
In a letter to congressional leaders, 29 GOP governors asked for more flexibility in spending Medicaid funds to control soaring costs. Two GOP governors, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Arizona Jan Brewer, have gone further, seeking permission to dramatically tighten eligibility rules.
Republican Governors Association’s Mike Schrimpf said, “There is a growing impatience among governors. As the Medicaid portion of state budgets grows, the issue becomes even more pressing.”
In fiscal 2010, Medicaid sucked up more than 20 percent of state budgets, more than what states spend on K-12 education.
While states have tried different schemes to cut costs, such as generic drugs and home care, Obamacare generally prevents states from tightening eligibility, the Post reported.
Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., told Congress that Obamacare “expanded a broken system” and it “will greatly expand state Medicaid programs, pulling tax dollars from other necessary areas like education and law enforcement.”
States and the federal government share costs for Medicaid but rules for coverage and eligibility are set in Washington, according to the Post.
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