Governors to pass proposals on Medicaid reform

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Governors this week are expected to approve cost-saving proposals for Medicaid that would affect nursing home residents. Another topic of discussion was the Medicare "clawback" provision, which could negatively affect facilities and residents.

The Medicaid proposals include limiting the type of assets that can be transferred to family and friends to quality for Medicaid-funded long-term care and encouraging seniors to use "reverse mortgages" on their homes to refund Medicaid for services.

The governors, who convened this week for their annual meeting in Des Moines, IA, also expressed concern about how the 2003 Medicare law will affect dual eligibles, who make up 70% of nursing home residents.

The "clawback" provision requires states to pay the federal government as much as 90% of the cost of drugs in 2006. While they should experience savings of 10% from their current prescription drug spending levels for dual eligibles, governors said their states ultimately will pay more for dual eligibles' drugs under the new law. Some governors are contemplating a lawsuit.