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Home > Advocacy > Alerts and Updates > Selected Alert

 
 

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

12/11/2012

Call the President to Protect Medicaid

Yesterday, the President made clear that he no longer supports a "blended rate" for Medicaid. However, Medicaid reform is still on the table as a deficit reduction strategy.

ACTION REQUIRED

Call the President and tell him why the vulnerable children and families you serve and care about cannot afford reduced access to health care. Call 202-456-1111, and you'll be connected to the White House Comment Line.

MESSAGE

Mr. President, I urge you to hold the line on protecting Medicaid as you continue to negotiate with Congress on the fiscal cliff. Yesterday, you said that you no longer support the Medicaid blended rate proposal as a means of deficit reduction. Thank you for recognizing that Medicaid is a vital safety net for children, especially for those in foster care. I want to thank you for your willingness to address this serious matter. I believe strongly that fixing the deficit on the backs of the children and families that depend on these necessary health services is not a responsible way to address the looming fiscal cliff.

BACKGROUND

Deficit reduction discussions continue between the President and Congress. Everyone is working to avoid sequestration but currently cannot find agreement on the best approach. In addition to the automatic sequestration spending cuts, the end of the calendar year also triggers past legislation that automatically increases taxes. In this context, revenue from tax increases and decreased expenditures through spending cuts and entitlement reform are the main levers being debated to reduce the deficit.

In September, the President released a Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction (pdf), providing a blueprint for his Administration's proposal for reducing the deficit. The plan proposes $72 billion in savings from Medicaid and other health programs. More specifically, the plan calls for simplifying the federal Medicaid payment formula for the States, a savings of close to $15 billion over the next ten years. Currently, States receive different Federal match rates for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Under the "blended rate" proposal, the current formulas would be replaced with a single matching rate specific to each State.

While the President has indicated that he wants the blended rate proposal taken off of the negotiating table, should such a proposal go forward, the implications are largely unknown. Proponents of the blended rate argue that a blended rate would simplify the administrative process at the state level, while opponents argue that a blended rate match for states would be disadvantageous for states who currently receive larger matches for their Medicaid/CHIP programs, laying added pressure on an already under funded program. Yesterday, the President said that he no longer supports the blended rate. However, there are Members of Congress who still believe that entitlement reform, including Medicaid, should be included in the negotiations to address deficit reduction. For background on recent Federal budget policy see our These Cuts Won't Heal campaign site. For ongoing information about the details of the current deficit reduction debate see the Children's Monitor.
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