Make therapy caps lower, streamline review process, MedPAC chairman urges House committee

Now is not the time for the Congressional “super committee” to consider Medicaid cuts, said a former Health and Human Services official.

At a forum last week called “Inside Deficit Reduction: What It Means for Medicaid,” Tim Westmoreland, who was the Medicaid director at the Health Care Financing Administration from 1999 to 2001, said that cutting Medicaid during an economic downturn is unwise. According to published reports, Westmoreland compared Medicaid cuts to the trimming of FEMA outlays during an earthquake.

The super committee must devise a plan to lower the federal deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years by Nov. 23. Although Medicaid is protected from “triggered cuts” if the committee fails to act, changes to Medicaid — a major payer for long-term care services — could be part of a compromise.

A new report prepared by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured urges the super committee to consider payment changes such as limitations on Medicaid provider taxes; blended federal match rates; and shifting dual eligibles into managed care.

Click here to read the Kaiser report.