June 18,2004

Baucus Urges House to Reconsider Offset on Family Opportunity Act

“I have been a strong supporter of the Family Opportunity Act and haveadvocated, most recently in a Finance Committee hearing this year, for policies thatwould increase options for community living for individuals with severe disabilities. Iam pleased that the House is taking steps to pass the Family Opportunity Act and theMoney Follows the Person initiative.

But I am deeply concerned about the House’s decision to finance these veryimportant policies by cutting payment for services provided to Medicaid’s mostvulnerable beneficiaries: those with severe disabilities, children in foster care, and thosewith serious mental illness. Furthermore, the offset affects states very differently, andhurts the poorest states, like Montana, the most.

Finally, by cutting payments for coordination and case management services, wewould be moving Medicaid away from the policies we have urged, on a bipartisan basis,for Medicare. We would be telling states that coordinating medical services andproviding case management is not important, when all of the best thinking in healthpolicy tells us otherwise. I urge the House to reconsider this policy. “