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U.S House Passes Repeal of Budget Busting Illinois Medicaid Mandate Rep. Schock, Leader Cross Call on Senate to Act Immediately

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Following a state-wide tour in April highlighting the mounting budget crisis the Affordable Care Act has caused in Illinois, Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross issued a joint statement today calling on the US Senate to join the House in passing legislation to repeal the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirement.

"Passage of Obamacare has not only killed jobs, burdened small businesses, and put government bureaucrats between patients and their doctors, but it took flexibility away from states like Illinois to make their own health care decisions. The House repealed the burdensome MOE mandate so that Illinois can make the necessary, commonsense changes to a program that is wrecking havoc on a state budget already in dire straits. This is no small feat, as the consequences this egregious mandate will have on Illinois' budget will be unmanageable, and will only result in reduced medical services for those who need medical care the most.

"We are calling on the Senate to immediately follow the actions taken today by the House and repeal the MOE requirement. The hardworking taxpayers of Illinois cannot wait for the notoriously idle Senate to delay action. We urge Senate leadership to bring this to a vote without delay."

Repealing the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirement Imposed on States: Under current law, there is a Maintenance of Effort requirement (MOE) in place whereby a state is prohibited from having eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures under its state Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans that are more restrictive than those in effect on March 23, 2010, the date of enactment of Obamacare. This MOE is a significant barrier for states trying to better manage their Medicaid and CHIP programs -- especially for those states wanting to implement program integrity measures that would ensure proper eligibility verification.

In 2011, for example, inadequate eligibility review cost the taxpayers approximately $15 billion in improper payments under the Medicaid program. This proposal by the Energy & Commerce Committee would repeal the maintenance of effort on states for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as mandated by Obamacare. The repeal of the MOE merely allows states the same operational flexibility they have exercised since the beginnings of the Medicaid and CHIP programs. CBO has estimated that this proposal would save approximately $600 million over ten years.

In April, Congressman Aaron Schock and Leader Tom Cross embarked on a state wide tour to call attention to the mounting budget pressures facing Illinois taxpayers on the duel threats of expanding Medicaid costs and the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. In February, Governor Pat Quinn unveiled his FY 13 budget plan calling for a $2.7 billion reduction in Medicaid spending. However, the Quinn Administration has yet to secure the federal waiver needed to implement cost-saving reforms enacted last year that would require proof of income verification for all Medicaid applicants.

This failure to act comes with a big price tag as the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare is projected to have an unmanageable impact on Illinois' already weak budget. In January, 2012, the Civic Federation warned Illinois will face a $34.8 billion backlog of unpaid bills if no action is taken to reform Medicaid. Using the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' own projections, Medicaid will increase by more than 40% over the next five years (from $8.6 billion to $12.1 billion). Unless reforms are enacted, the Medicaid backlog will grow to $21 billion within five years.

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