Monday, February 22, 2010

Health care summit: Will Obama listen to governors?

Thursday's ballyhooed White House bipartisan health care summit is shaping up to be a dog and pony show. States such as my Illinois whose budgets are an economic basketcase don't need more unfunded mandates. But Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, won't be there, nor will another leader of an economically distressed state, California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican.

It's got nothing to do with party, no governors will be there, which the Republican National Committee finds troubling.


Republican Governors Association Chairman, Gov. Haley Barbour, Urges Obama To "Include Governors In The Health Care Summit" To Make Sure That Legislation That Could "Be Untenable To State Governments." "Republican Governors Association leadership called on the White House today to include governors in the health care summit scheduled for Thursday, February 25th. 'If the White House is truly interested in moving health care reform forward, they need to invite governors to the health care summit,' said RGA Chairman Haley Barbour. "After seeing the bipartisan reaction from governors to the previous healthcare bills, it simply makes sense for the White House to seek input from governors before unveiling new legislation that could again be untenable to state governments." (Republican Governors Association, "RGA Leadership: Include Governors In Health Care Summit," Press Release, 2/19/10)

House GOP Leaders Boehner, Cantor Ask White House To Include Governors At Summit. "Will the President be inviting officials and lawmakers from the states to participate in this discussion? As you may know, legislation has been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures, similar to the proposal just passed by the Democratic-controlled Virginia State Senate, providing that no individual may be compelled to purchase health insurance. Additionally, governors of both parties have raised concerns about the additional costs that will be passed along to states under both the House and Senate bills." (Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor, Letter To White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel, 2/8/10)


States Will Be Burdened With $26 Billion In Unfunded Mandates From Medicaid That Would Force Them To Increase Taxes. (Douglas W. Elmendorf, Letter To Senator Harry Reid, 12/19/09)

States Already Making Cuts To Medicaid, "Even As Democrats Push To Add 15 Million People To The Rolls." "Facing relentless fiscal pressure and exploding demand for government health care, virtually every state is making or considering substantial cuts in Medicaid, even as Democrats push to add 15 million people to the rolls. Because they are temporarily barred from reducing eligibility, states have been left to cut 'optional benefits,' like dental and vision care, and reduce payments to doctors and other health care providers." (Kevin Sack and Robert Pear, "States Consider Medicaid Cuts As Use Grows," The New York Times, 2/19/10)

Medicaid Programs In Every State Increased Last Year For First Time In Decade. "Every state's Medicaid program saw an increase for the first time since the early 1990s. The enrollment growth reached double digits in 32 states. The increases ranged widely from less than 1 percent in Rhode Island to 20.4 percent in Maryland. State Medicaid directors in 29 states said they were considering cutbacks ...." (Jeffrey Young, "Recession Drove Millions On To Medicaid Rolls," The Hill's "Briefing Room" Blog, 2/19/10)


Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-TN) Calls Dems' Health Care Experiment "Mother Of All Unfunded Mandates." "[Bredesen] feared Congress was about to bestow 'the mother of all unfunded mandates.' 'Medicaid is a poor vehicle for expanding coverage ... It's a 45-year-old system originally designed for poor women and their children. It's not health care reform to dump more money into Medicaid.'" (Kevin Sack and Robert Pear, "Governors Fear Medicaid Costs In Health Plan," The New York Times, 7/20/09)

  • Bredesen: "Nobody's Going To Put Their State Into Bankruptcy Or Their Education System In The Tank For It." "I can't think of a worse time for this bill to be coming ... nobody's going to put their state into bankruptcy or their education system in the tank for it." (Shailagh Murray, "States Resist Medicaid Growth," The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

  • Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) "Deeply Troubled" By Dems' Bill. "After the Senate passed the bill in a Christmas Eve vote, Paterson said the expansion would leave New York $1 billion in the lurch ... '[I] am deeply troubled that the Senate version of the bill worsens what was already an inequitable situation for New York and I will continue to be an advocate on behalf of New Yorkers to ensure we are treated fairly by this critical federal legislation,' Paterson said in a statement." (Alex Isenstadt, "Blue State Govs. Rip Senate Health Bill," Politico, 12/29/09)

    Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA): "I Don't Think It's An Accounting Trick, I Think It's An Unfunded Mandate ... We Just Don't Have The Wherewithal To Absorb That Without Some New Revenue Source ..." (CNBC's "Squawk Box," 9/3/09)

    Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D-WY) Says Dems' Bill Not "Cost-Effective Or Efficient." "Freudenthal said expanding Medicaid may be a quick way to get coverage for the uninsured, but it's far from the most cost- effective or efficient ... 'If you have 47 million people who don't have coverage in the country, and your goal is to get coverage for those people, you can't come to us and say that it's not going to cost society anything.'" ("Medicaid Expansion May Be Budget Buster," The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, 7/27/09)

    Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA) Concerned That "If We Try To Cost-Shift To The States We're Not Going To Be In A Position To Pick Up The Tab..." (Kevin Sack and Robert Pear, "Governors Fear Medicaid Costs In Health Plan," The New York Times, 7/20/09)

    Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Says "Under No Conditions Can We Take Unfunded Mandates. You Can't ... Put A $100 Billion Back On The States To Pick Up." ("Governor Manchin Joins Counterparts In Mississippi," [West Virginia] Metro News, 7/20/09)

    Gov. Bev Perdue (D-NC) Says An "Absolute Deal Breaker For Me As Governor Is A Federal Plan That Shifts Costs To The States." ("Perdue: Don't Give States The Bill," [Raleigh, NC] News & Observer, 7/21/09)

    Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM): "We Can't Afford That, And That's Not Acceptable." ("Govs Resist Added Federal Expenses From Congress," The Associated Press, 7/19/09)

    Gov. Bill Ritter (D-CO) Concerned With Whether Dems "Have Fully Figured Out A Revenue Stream That Would Cover The Costs, And That If They Don't Have All The Dollars Accounted For It Will Fall On The States ..." (Kevin Sack and Robert Pear, "Governors Fear Medicaid Costs In Health Plan," The New York Times, 7/20/09)

    Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) Dems' Bill Just "Another Situation Where The Federal Government Says You Must Do X And You Must Pay For It." ("Many Governors Against Health Care Bill, Label It Unfunded Mandate," Fox News, 7/19/09)

    Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) Says States "Are Not In A Position To Accept Additional Medicaid Responsibilities" From Dems' Bill. "Still, Strickland warned on a recent visit to Washington that 'the states, with our financial challenges right now, are not in a position to accept additional Medicaid responsibilities.' ... he added that if Medicaid is expanded, he hopes to 'see the federal government assume the greater portion of the costs, if not the total costs.'" ("Expansion Of Medicaid Could Impose Costs On Ohio," The Columbus Dispatch, 10/7/09)

    Gov. John Lynch (D-NH) Did Not Sign A Letter Supporting Health Care Reform Because It Failed To "Address Concerns Regarding Potential Cost Shifting To The States." "Last week, Democratic governors sent a letter to congressional leaders proclaiming that 'the status quo is no longer an option' and urging passage of a healthcare bill this year. ... [N]ew Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, he did not sign because the letter failed to 'address concerns regarding potential cost shifting to the states,' said Colin Manning, a spokesman for the governor." ("Obama Finds Support Outside Party And Washington For Healthcare Plan," Los Angeles Times, 10/7/09)

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