FW: Medicaid Fight Update: On Commissions and Principles [GFI-T45272-42B4324667C93A73]
From: Connie Bagley [mailto:Connie@...]
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 6:09 PM
To: Sandy Archer; seniorservices@...; Annie Avery; Candy Wilson; Janita Larson; Joyce Grabowski; Marsha Yancy; Nancy Donahue; Pat Kimble; Tom Boyd; Beth Wilms; Brian Hartung; Cea Grass; Charity Floen; DeeAnn Pettyjohn; Greg Schoener; Jan Lochner; Judy Barton; Kathy Baruth; Linda Campbell; Linda Grupa; Lynn Theurer; Mark Shaw; Mary Ho; Pat Hrabe; peggy.espey@...; sserfling@...; Sue Goodew; Sue Paulson; Terry Smith; Wendy Ebner; Craig Brooks; Dorothy Baker; Mary Richards; Terri Pawlina; executivedirector@...; alenefink@...; annep@...; mstorvic@...; director@...; swanson1@...; pjuveland@...; seniors@...; caregivers @...
Subject: FW: Medicaid Fight Update: On Commissions and Principles
It's up to you. You can read this and grumble or you can write to your Senator's and Representative and give them your opinion.
Connie J. Bagley
SE MN Area Agency on Aging
421 SW 1 Ave., Suite 201
Rochester, MN 55902
From: Rachel Klein & Lena O'Rourke, Families USA [mailto:HealthAction@...]
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 1:38 PM
To: Connie Bagley
Subject: Medicaid Fight Update: On Commissions and Principles
Dear Connie J.,
From Our Web Site:
Two <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=SlWtnuszFlCzUrxQ5ermlA..> Dramatically Different Medicaid Commissions
Principles <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=j2xwbjF_gqwGXg65JaLHQA..> to Guide Medicaid Action
The last time we wrote to you about the Medicaid fight, we shared the disappointing news that Congress had decided to cut $10 billion in Medicaid funding from the federal budget. Since then, there have been several new developments in the Medicaid fight:
The Medicaid Commission: A Sham by Any Other Name
During budget negotiations, there was much discussion about the creation of a Medicaid commission that would be charged with looking at the various options to reform Medicaid. As originally envisioned by its Senate sponsors, Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the commission was to be a broad-based, bipartisan body focused on long-term Medicaid reform rather than on short-term budget savings. The Medicaid commission recently <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=zEoy2r4MD6CB4WqXn_CdUg..> announced by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, however, is more likely to be a sham that will only rubber-stamp predetermined conclusions designed to cut back vital health services for America's elderly, children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.
We have created a side-by-side comparison of the commission proposed in the Smith-Bingaman bill (S. 338) and the Administration's commission to help illustrate how far the Administration's version strays from the original intent of this commission. Click <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=cC5HS3vbwLyqWOAD-0LiXQ..> here to view the comparison on our Web site.
The Next Phase of the Medicaid Fight: A Statement of Principles
Having voted for a budget resolution that cuts Medicaid funding, Congress now moves on to the more complicated-but not less important-task of coming up with savings. While the congressional leadership seems determined to achieve these savings from Medicaid, all other programs are on the table as well. As in the previous phase of the fight, it is in the Senate where we will have our best chance to make a difference. The Senate committee charged with coming up with Medicaid savings is the Senate <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=9TaRv71hYZc8zqZwUSTc8Q..> Finance Committee.
A number of groups involved in this fight have collaborated on a statement of principles that should guide the reconciliation process in Congress. We subscribe to the principles outlined in this document and urge you to use it in your advocacy efforts.
Click <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=_vufiD8MNpW1z7JhLn9R8g..> here to view the statement
Even though it's early in the reconciliation process, we ask you to begin contacting your Senators now-especially if they sit on the Finance Committee-and urge them to make choices that do the least possible harm to those who rely on Medicaid for their medical needs.
Governors Chime In
The National Governors Association (NGA) has announced that it will join Democratic congressional leaders in boycotting the Administration's commission. This is good news because every major group that opts out of the commission process helps undermine the commission's credibility. HOWEVER, individual governors or former governors may still accept appointments to the commission by Secretary Leavitt, if offered.
Moreover, the NGA has adopted a new <http://www.familiesusa.org/site/R?i=GNDKWKO7TSA1NPhmj2Nn6g..> interim policy on Medicaid "reform." The NGA policy includes several proposals that would hurt the people who rely on Medicaid, such as signficantly increasing cost-sharing and allowing providers to turn patients away if they cannot afford care; allowing states to offer different benefit packages to different groups of people and/or in different parts of a state; allowing states to make major Medicaid changes without a waiver; and undermining the ability of the courts to enforce federal Medicaid law.
The governors will vote at their summer meeting at the end of July about whether to make this permanent policy of the NGA. In the meantime, the governors will testify about their proposal at hearings before the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee this Wednesday (June 15). We'll have a more complete analysis of their policy soon.
We'll keep you informed about new developments as they happen. Thanks for all your hard work!
Lena & Rachel
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