Governors Warn Trump Rule Could Lead to Big Medicaid Cuts

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Governors of both major political parties are warning that a little-noticed regulation proposed by President Donald Trump's administration could lead to big cuts in Medicaid, reducing access to health care for low-income Americans.
WASHINGTON (AP) —

The arcane fiscal accountability rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, would tighten federal oversight and approval over complex financing strategies states have long used to help pay for their share of the $600 billion program. Also targeted are certain payments to hospitals that treat many low-income patients. Public comments closed last week amid a chorus of criticism from hospitals, nursing homes, insurers, doctors, and advocates for the poor.

Against the backdrop of an election year, governors are warning the administration of potentially dire consequences.

"States may be unable to adequately fund their Medicaid programs, which could lead to unintended consequences that would negatively impact Medicaid beneficiaries across the country," wrote Govs. Kate Brown, D-Ore., and Charlie Baker, R-Mass., in official comments on behalf of National Governors Association.

But CMS administrator Seema Verma says the vast health care program needs closer scrutiny and has expressed concerns about "shady" financing schemes that abuse the system and drive up taxpayer costs.

In a statement, Verma said her agency recognizes the "critical importance" of the state financing but said it has to lead to better value and improved care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Under the proposed rule, "we are increasing transparency, integrity and clarity," she said.

An agency spokesman said the rule is not intended to reduce Medicaid payments.

But the policy comes from an administration that has repeatedly moved to scale back Medicaid. Trump has tried to repeal the program's Obama-era expansion, supported block grants that would cap federal spending, and allowed states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

The latest proposal…
Associated Press
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