Baucus says maintenance-of-effort requirements are 'on the table' in budget talks

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) said that he and fellow Democrats are flexible in their response to Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act's maintenance-of-effort requirements for Medicaid.

There is no so-called line in the sand in the negotiations, except to say that there needs to be revenue if Congress moves ahead with Medicaid cuts, Baucus told the Bureau of National Affairs. He said everything is fluid and “on the table.”

Maintenance of effort requirements are mandates in the ACA that dictate states must maintain the same Medicaid eligibility levels they had in place when the ACA was passed, in March 2010.

“It's a matter of putting the pieces together so the results balance and pass the smell test and balance a comprehensive agreement to get the deficit reduced,” Baucus told BNA.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation in May to lift the reform bill's MOE provisions. When asked about the status of his bill (S. 868), Hatch told BNA Congress needs to repeal MOEs because states are already $175 billion in the hole.

“Some states can't handle it, no matter what, and we've just got to get that kind of pressure off them,” Hatch added.

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