Medicaid advisory commission established to steer reform

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The Department of Health and Human Services has established an advisory commission charged with identifying issues and strategies for Medicaid reform.

By Sept. 1 the commission will be expected to issue suggestions on how best to accomplish the $10 billion in Medicaid cuts contained in Congress' 2006 budget resolution.

The commission must offer long-range strategies for the viability of the Medicaid program, long-term care issues and eligibility, program administration and program expansions by Dec. 31, 2006, according to HHS officials on Friday.

HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt will appoint 15 voting members to the commission and decide which one should chair it.  His role in the commission has disappointed some senators who believe a more neutral body should appoint members to the commission.

A copy of the commission's charter and the May 24 Federal Register notice on the commission can be found at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/faca/mc/default.asp.