The House Energy and Commerce Committee would allow states to charge Medicaid beneficiaries premiums, copayments and other cost-sharing expenses equal to up to 5% of family income under a budget reconciliation bill that includes at least $11 billion in federal Medicaid cuts. The committee, which has sole jurisdiction over Medicaid in the House, will vote on the provisions Thursday. The proposal also would use the average manufacturer price instead of the average wholesale price to set Medicaid reimbursement for prescription drugs, saving at least $3 billion over five years, and change Medicaid's asset-transfer policies for a savings of more than $2 billion. The reconciliation bill spared Medicare from spending cuts, as did the bill in the House Ways and Means Committee, which shares jurisdiction over the program. The Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid and Medicare in the Senate, proposed $10 billion in combined cuts from the programs. In other Washington news, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt named Govs. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to the Medicaid Commission. Leavitt named 11 of the 13 voting members in July but left two spots open for current governors. -- by Tony Fong
House bill would trade flexibility for Medicaid cuts
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