PROTECTING THE MEDICAID SAFETY NET ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 24, 2008)
HON. MICHELE BACHMANN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2008
* Mrs. BACHMANN. Mr. Speaker, today, the House is considering H.R. 5613, Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008. This legislation would place a moratorium on certain rules promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS. While I applaud CMS for looking for ways to reduce the burden on taxpayers and to root out fraud which is regrettably rampant in the Medicaid program, some of these proposed rules simply go too far. They shift too great a cost to the States and leave many vulnerable Americans more vulnerable still. And so I will support this temporary stay to give the administration time to consider ways to meet its goals in a less draconian manner.
* To be sure, the Medicaid program has been abused. For instance, a CMS Inspector General report found $3.8 million in undocumented services in the targeted case management program, one which is impacted by these very rules. And CMS's regulations would certainly combat instances of waste and fraud. However, implementing a 1-year moratorium will give CMS an opportunity to review the regulations and give States and local providers an opportunity to prepare for pending implementation, each knowing that real reform is on the horizon. While I believe it is important to rein in entitlement spending, these rules, as currently formulated and immediately imposed, would jeopardize needed care for some of the most vulnerable populations of Americans.
* That being said, I am pleased that to address abuses of the Medicaid program, H.R. 5613 provides for anti-fraud enforcement activity in the interim. The bill also provides for the Department of Health and Human Services to hire an independent contractor to produce a report by March 1, 2009, on the proposed regulations and their impact on States. Moreover, all of these costs, as well as the foregone savings resulting from this moratorium are fully offset, meaning H.R. 5613 will not increase the national debt.
* The Medicaid program has helped millions of America's neediest individuals, including seniors, foster kids and the disabled, gain access to quality care, and while there have indeed been instances of misallocated funds, H.R. 5613 finds balance between regulatory restraint and financial flexibility, and it maintains a strong partnership with the States.