House Subcommittee mulls ways to save Medicaid dollars

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Tightening regulations for asset transfers is one focus of possible Medicaid savings, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee said this week.

"Personal responsibility" would be the thrust of any alterations to Medicaid, Nathan Deal (R-GA) said. Many people use asset transfers to become eligible for Medicaid for nursing home care, he said. Other changes could include increasing the number of copayments for service and discouraging emergency department use for routine ailments.

The committee has to find ways to cut $10 billion in reconciliation savings. But he said that Medicaid would not be the sole source of the savings. An outline of the subcommittee proposal will be finished in several weeks, Deal said.

The pending Medicaid reform proposal from the National Governors Association would be "a tremendous step in the right direction if we want to make some changes," Deal said. The NGA proposal is expected in early June.