Another massive problem facing our state, I proudly stood with colleagues from both sides of the aisle as we took the first meaningful step to reducing expenses in this state health insurance program. Through a combination of targeted spending cuts and an increase in the cigarette tax that will lower health care costs by discouraging smoking, I worked with other legislators and the governor to produce $2.7 billion in savings in this $14 billion program.
Our work is not done. We will need to be vigilant to keep expenses manageable going forward, and that will become even more important as more people join the rolls when federal health care reform takes effect in the next couple of years. But with vigilant stewardship, we will produce a stronger Medicaid program that provides the coverage that is so important to those who need it in our district and our state while ending waste and holding accountable the health care providers and insurers for taking care of these needs at a reasonable cost.