States Fear Medicaid Mandates in Health Care Reform

Part of the Obama Administration’s health-care industry overhaul would expand Medicaid coverage–the national health program for the poor–to the non poor. Families with incomes more than one third higher than the pover level would be automatically covered.

The fiscal impacts on state budgets will be huge, because the federal government won’t be ponying up the money to fully fund the program. It’s another stealth way the feds dangle money to expand government by encouraging greater overall government spending through matches by state governments.

Fortunately, as the New York Times reports, both Republican and Democratic governors are beginning to balk.

“The role of the states in a restructured health care system dominated the summer meeting of the National Governors Association here this weekend — with bipartisan animosity voiced against the plan during a closed-door luncheon on Saturday and in a private meeting on Sunday with the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.

“I think the governors would all agree that what we don’t want from the federal government is unfunded mandates,” said Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, a Republican, the group’s incoming chairman. “We can’t have the Congress impose requirements that we are forced to absorb beyond our capacity to do so.”

“The governors’ backlash creates yet another health care headache for the Obama administration, which has tried to recruit state leaders to pressure members of Congress to wrap up their fitful negotiations. Both Ms. Sebelius, who was Kansas’ governor before she joined the cabinet in April, and the federal Medicaid chief, Cindy Mann, made appearances at the meeting on Sunday. Meanwhile, other administration officials spent the day pushing President Obama‘s proposal on television talk shows. ”

This is yet another example of the steady march of the progressive politicians undermining federalism. Of course, it began long ago, but this Administration has embraced the destruction of federalism with gusto.