Governors' Medicaid reform ideas could influence commission

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Governors' ideas on Medicaid reform could play a role in the cost cutting decisions of the Medicaid commission, which is assigned the task of cutting $10 billion from the program over the next five years.

The commission likely will look at governors' proposals because they have been under discussion for 10 years and are well thought-out, said Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt. Among the governors' ideas for Medicaid are imposing tighter rules on asset transferring, the mechanism by which seniors move assets to qualify sooner for Medicaid in nursing homes. They also propose lower rates for prescription drugs and higher Medicaid copayments and deductibles for beneficiaries.

The commission, which had its first meeting last week, is scheduled to submit a report by Sept. 1 on its recommendations for eliminating $10 billion from the program.