April 30,2015

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Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

Bicameral Committee Leaders Request Ideas to Strengthen Medicaid

As Program Nears 50th Year, House and Senate Leaders Seek Ideas to Strengthen Vital Safety Net for Nation’s Most Vulnerable

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today sent a letter to the commissioners of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission seeking ideas for how to strengthen Medicaid. The Medicaid program, which turns 50 this year, is the largest health insurance program in the world, providing coverage for more than 70 million Americans today. The leaders outline the serious budgetary challenges that jeopardize the future of not only the Medicaid program, but state and federal budgets as mandatory entitlement spending continues to grow. 

The leaders write, “We are requesting your assistance in developing policy options to ensure the sustainability of the Medicaid program so it can continue to provide essential coverage and services to vulnerable populations. … We believe Medicaid is a very important safety net for the most vulnerable. Yet, a range of literature shows that many Medicaid beneficiaries already face challenges related to access and quality. We are concerned that the rapid growth in the program over the coming years could cause further access and health care quality problems for beneficiaries. We are also concerned that the current Medicaid trajectory is not sustainable in the mid-term range.”

The leaders continued, “Given MACPAC’s general mandate and Medicaid expertise, we are writing to request that the commission undertake serious and sustained analytical work over the coming years to advise Congress about potential policies and needed financing reforms and incentives to ensure the sustainability of the program. … In addition, given the federal budgetary pressures Congress faces, going forward, we request that any recommendations provided by the commission that would increase Medicaid program costs be accompanied by suggestions for other Medicaid program changes to offset those added costs.” 

Read the complete letter online here.