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Wilson: Congress Should Heed Governors on Medicaid

Location: Washington, DC

Wilson: Congress Should Heed Governors on Medicaid
Health, not budget, should drive Medicaid reform

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Heather Wilson, an outspoken advocate of Medicaid reform, today said that Congress should listen to Governors' concerns.

"The budget process should not drive Medicaid reform," said Wilson, speaking today to the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. "Improving the health of low-income and disabled Americans should drive reform."

Wilson introduced a bill last month to create a bipartisan Medicaid Commission. Wilson, who chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Medicaid Task Force in the 108th Congress, has been conferring with governors about Medicaid reform and needs in their states.

"We have a growing challenge on our hands. Medicaid has surpassed Medicare and is now the largest public health insurance program in the United States with more than 50 million beneficiaries and expenditures of $300 billion," Wilson said. "It's time to take a serious look at making the Medicaid program work better for the people it serves."

Wilson continues to urge an open discussion about challenges facing the Medicaid program, options for reform and possible legislation to make the program better.

"Unlike Medicare, every state has a different program. Medicaid is run by the states with complicated joint financing mechanisms that would make Rube Goldberg proud," Wilson said.

Wilson's bipartisan legislation to create a national Medicaid commission is endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus, the American Hospital Association, the National Association of Public Hospitals and the American Health Care Association. Donna Christian-Christensen (D-VI), chair of the Health Subcommittee of the Congressional Black Caucus, is an original cosponsor.

The Commission would make recommendations for reforms to strengthen and modernize Medicaid, improving its longterm financial capability to improve the health of low-income Americans.

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