Governors weigh in on fiscal policy, healthcare


The National Governors Assn. talks Medicaid with President Obama during fiscial policy meetings.

When representatives of the National Governors Assn. (NGA) met with President Obama last week, they offered their collective ideas on fiscal policy, including their take on healthcare.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell, NGA chairman, says states cut transportation and education recently to balance their budgets.

“The only program that increased was Medicaid,” he says.

An estimated 15 million individuals could qualify for expanded Medicaid beginning in 2014, depending on whether their states decide to offer it. Eight states have already indicated they will not expand their Medicaid eligibility under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, NGA vice chair, also says states want the president to carefully consider all spending cuts and avoid a situation where unfunded mandates fall to the states while their hands are tied. The NGA realizes states have to do more with less, she says, but any federal reform should prove savings for states as well as the federal government.

“Deficit reduction should not be accomplished by shifting costs to the states,” she says.

Markell says long-term solutions for healthcare are likely to come from the states. For example, Arkansas is moving away from fee-for-service payment.

“The president did mention the importance of dealing with the healthcare cost issue,” he says.

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