HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued governors a series of suggestions for reducing their massive Medicaid costs. Her move also comes as a growing number of states consider far-reaching cuts to their Medicaid programs.
HHS offers states advice on Medicaid savings
In a letter to governors Sebelius outlined potential cost savers within the federal-state program and offered “new tools and resources to achieve both short-term savings and longer-term sustainability while providing high-quality care to the citizens of your states.”
The letter emphasized the flexibility states have to reshape their Medicaid offerings without seeking a complex federal waiver, such as the “optional benefits” on which states spent a combined $100 billion in 2008, according to an HHS statement.
Sebelius also promised to “expedite review of state ideas” beyond those suggested in the letter.
“This is just the beginning of a discussion on how we can help you better manage your Medicaid programs and navigate your budget crises,” Sebelius wrote.
Such overtures may aim to reverse the increasing trend in recent months of states considering cuts to their Medicaid programs as a way to eliminate looming budget deficits stemming from the recent recession.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) dismissed Sebelius' letter as “more platitudes” and called for lifting federal restrictions on states' abilities to enact deep cuts without losing matching funds.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.