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Guthrie Questions Governors on Medicaid and State Health Reform


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) released the following statement Tuesday, March 1, 2011, after the House Energy and Commerce Committee's hearing on Medicaid and state health care reform:

"I appreciate the time the governors took to appear before the committee to talk about such an important issue and give us further insight into the issues they are facing. I have met with legislators and Medicaid officials in Kentucky, and know this is a topic they are also very concerned about.

"The health care bill that passed last year spent over a trillion dollars and imposed sweeping new mandates on patients, providers and states, not only burdening American families, but also already-struggling state governments.

"Recent estimates show the health care law will saddle Kentucky alone with a $695 million unfunded mandate from 2014-2019. That means next year, when my friends and former colleagues in Frankfort sit down to write the 2014 budget, they will have to factor this in.

"And as Governor Barbour and Governor Herbert reiterated today, this leaves states with only two options - raise taxes or cut benefits and services. Sadly, this could likely result in the allocation of fewer resources for public education, infrastructure projects, and other worthwhile state efforts.

"We heard from the governors today, it is not just Kentucky that shares this concern. States all across the nation are facing already-difficult budget situations and will soon be strapped with higher Medicaid costs as a result of the health care law."

BACKGROUND: The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing Tuesday, March 1, 2011 on Medicaid and State Health Care Reform.

Governors Haley Barbour (R-MS), Gary Herbert (R-UT), and Deval Patrick (D-MA) appeared before the committee to discuss their experiences complying with the new health care law's mandates, particularly the burdens imposed by requirements to maintain their Medicaid eligibility in return for federal dollars. As a result, many states are forced to cut covered benefits rather than adjust coverage to focus on those most in need or pursue innovative strategies to reduce costs while providing quality coverage and care.

Governors also discussed the added costs to their Medicaid programs and state budgets created by the new health care law beginning in 2014.

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