The National Governors Association did not endorse President Bush's Medicaid reform agenda at its annual meeting concluding today in Washington and voted to create a committee of eight governors to negotiate Medicaid changes with the White House and Congress. "Instead of reading the fine print, we should be writing the fine print over the next weeks and months," said Connecticut's Republican governor, John Rowland. Specifically, governors expressed concerns that the administration's proposal would ultimately result in a cap on the federal contribution to Medicaid and increase the number of uninsured. In other policy-related news, a report commissioned by the American Hospital Association said hospital mergers are not to blame for the nation's rising healthcare costs, continuing a battle with the insurance industry. The AHA said the study found that hospital mergers had resulted in neither price increases nor a need for greater antitrust enforcement. Last week, the AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals released a joint report that attributed higher U.S. hospital spending to increased utilization and labor costs. Read the latest report.-- by Tony Fong
States leery of Medicaid plan; AHA defends mergers
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