Governors attack Bush plan to slash Medicaid spending

Share this content:

Governors in coming weeks will lobby hard to prevent possible federal cuts to the Medicaid program by the Bush administration, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported that governors of both parties are dismayed that Bush could reduce funding for Medicaid to lower the federal deficit.

"I certainly understand the need to balance the federal budget," Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), a vice chairman of the governors association, told the newspaper. "But people need to remember that to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy."

Federal officials said they are sending auditors to state capitals to examine Medicaid programs and curb methods by states of getting as much federal Medicaid dollars as they can.

In a letter to the White House, governors said Medicaid accounts for 50% of all long-term care dollars, and it finances the care for 70% of all people in nursing homes. Medicaid costs states and the federal government more than $300 billion annually.