July 08,2005

Statement Of U.S. Senator Baucus on Medicaid Advisory Commission

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus issued the following statement afterHealth and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt announced members of the MedicaidAdvisory Commission.

Baucus said today’s announcement of the Medicaid Advisory Commission members failsto ensure a balanced commission to strengthen Medicaid. Baucus also expressed concern withthe time the commission was given to develop policy recommendations. The commission isexpected to have recommendations completed by September 1, 2005. The statement follows:

“Today, Secretary Leavitt appointed members of the administration's MedicaidCommission. I have said all along that Medicaid deserves to be studied closely before majorchanges are made.

“However, I remain concerned about the lack of balance and independence of thiscommission. To be credible, this commission should have balanced representation of allviewpoints and operate independently of the administration. It is still not clear that thiscommission will meet this standard.

“And I still do not think requiring an outside commission to recommend proposals tomeet an arbitrary budget target of $10 billon in Medicaid savings is the right approach.Developing budget savings proposals is Congress' job. The commission should instead focus onthe right policies to strengthen our safety net, not work towards an arbitrary budget number.

“The allotted time for the commission to complete its September 1 recommendations isalso troubling. Six weeks is not enough time for a commission to develop the thoughtful approach that was intended. I hope the Secretary will reconsider this goal. ”