Lance among sponsors of bill to put more Medicaid fund flexibility in governors’ hands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today joined lawmakers in sponsoring legislation that would repeal a section of the health care law that denies governors flexibility to manage their state’s Medicaid funds.  

The Medicaid Maintenance of Effort requirement in the president’s health care law prevents states from managing their Medicaid programs to fit their own budgets and their own unique Medicaid populations, Lance said in a release. Governors from both political parties, including New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, have called for greater Medicaid flexibility in order to better target health care spending.

“Medicaid now consumes 22 percent of all state budgets.  Governors across the nation, including Gov. Christie, are deeply concerned about the burdensome Medicaid mandates in the new health law and the impact on current budgets,” Lance said.  “Our common sense legislation would give state governments the flexibility they need to create innovative, cost-effective, health safety net programs that make budgetary sense. ”

Earlier this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Lance is a member, examined the new health care law’s impact on Medicaid and state health care reform.  The Committee reported that the new health law will cost New Jersey at least $1.078 billion in added Medicaid costs through 2019.  A copy of the full report can be viewed at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/media/file/PDFs/030111MedicaidReport.pdf.

Gov. Christie has called on Congress to reverse the burdensome mandates and instead provide greater flexibility to manage the program at less cost.  “Neither (the new health care law) nor Medicaid provide the flexibility states need for the challenges of today or tomorrow.  Congress needs to provide states with the freedom to determine how best to meet the need of its citizens,” Christie wrote in a letter to Lance and other lawmakers.

Lance said he was joining others in introducing the State Flexibility Act to reverse the devastating consequences of the mandate as well as  other  portions of the law they consider onerous and replace them with reforms that expand access to care, lower costs and do not burden states with huge unfunded mandates.

Lance among sponsors of bill to put more Medicaid fund flexibility in governors’ hands