Senate Finance Committee negotiators will discuss funding options with the nation's governors for a major expansion of Medicaid under a broad health reform package that could come out as early as Tuesday.
Lawmakers weigh Medicaid funding options
Under the expansion, eligibility would be extended to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level and, for the first time, would include childless adults. The expansion would start in 2014. But state governors are concerned that their already-strained budgets would increase under the plan to grow the federal-state program. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), however, said he's optimistic that his blueprint for reform could ease the cost to states.
“The Medicaid cost through the expansion is not going to cost states near as much as they originally feared,” Baucus said, adding that programs geared towards states, like drug rebates and changes to a joint children's health program, would help defer some of the costs. “So on a net basis, I think that states are going to be pleasantly surprised.”
The bipartisan team of six Finance Committee members also discussed provisions that would bar federal dollars going toward abortions or to services that benefit undocumented immigrants, as well as provisions regarding medical malpractice.
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