Rokita Reintroduces State Health Flexibility Act

Press Release

By:  Todd Rokita
Date: Feb. 5, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a member of the House Budget Committee, today reintroduced the State Health Flexibility Act, which would reform the Medicaid program by block-granting the federal share of Medicaid funding to states, ultimately saving taxpayers $2 trillion over ten years through efficiency and fraud reduction. Rokita was joined on the bill by 32 original cosponsors.

"The facts are clear: Medicaid is a failure. Poor families and children continue to get poor care, if they can find Medicaid care at all. At the same time, federal Medicaid mandates are bankrupting states and driving doctors out of Medicaid services entirely. The State Health Flexibility Act is a constructive solution, putting states back in charge, with consistent, predictable, no-strings-attached funding to actually take care of the neediest Americans.

"Medicaid's current course is unsustainable, and without reform, it will collapse. Instead of pouring more money and trapping more Americans in a broken program, we should use proven reforms to make the system better and more efficient," said Rokita.

Rokita's State Health Flexibility Act devolves Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) funding to the states through a single federal block grant. States will have complete flexibility to determine eligibility and benefits, allowing them to tailor their safety net programs to their unique populations. Rokita's bill would also completely repeal Obamacare, including the law's dramatic expansion of Medicaid.

Rokita also introduced the State Health Flexibility Act last year during the 112th Congress, and the CHIP provisions were included in the House-passed budget.

The $2 trillion in savings would be achieved by capping federal Medicaid/CHIP funding at FY2012 levels for the next ten years, with no automatic mechanism to increase the block grant for inflation. This proposal is modeled after the successful 1996 federal welfare reforms, which has held federal spending steady.

The bill also contains strong protections that give states full authority and every incentive to proactively detect and prosecute misuse, fraud and abuse. Each state will undergo annual independent audits, which must be provided to the U.S. Treasury Secretary, the state legislatures and the general public. Misused funds detected by an audit will result in forfeiture of the funds plus a ten percent penalty.

Current-law prohibitions will continue against abortion funding, health care services for illegal aliens, and discrimination based upon disability, sex, race, color or national origin.

The original cosponsors joining Rokita on the legislation are U.S. Reps. Mark Amodei (NV-02), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Diane Black (TN-06), Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Paul Broun (GA-10), Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Tom Cotton (AR-04), John Culberson (TX-07), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), John Fleming (LA-04), Bill Flores (TX-17), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), George Holding (NC-13), Tim Huelskamp (KS-01), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Mick Mulvaney (SC-05), Steven Palazzo (MS-04), Steve Pearce (NM-02), Ted Poe (TX-02), Trey Radel (FL-19), Phil Roe (TN-01), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Steve Scalise (LA-01), Austin Scott (GA-08), Chris Stewart (UT-02) and Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03).

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