Salt Lake City - This morning Governor Gary R. Herbert took his message regarding the State's spirit of self-determination to Washington, D.C. In a meeting with the federal official who oversees Medicaid, and later in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, the Governor conveyed the need to include states when crafting federal policy and underscored his conviction that states can best solve their own problems, particularly in the area of health care reform.
"When the federal government leaves states out of the discussion and oversteps its enumerated powers, the resulting policy and process is misguided, costly, onerous, and contrary to the will of the people," the Governor said in his 1:00 p.m. (EST) address to the Heritage Foundation.
Calling Medicaid a budget buster, the Governor focused on Utah's efforts to reform health care in four key areas: administrative simplification, provider incentives, patient accountability and expanded premium subsidy options. "Medicaid is poised to wreak havoc on the state's budget for years to come, threatening our ability to fund critical services, such as transportation and education," he said.
He pointed out Medicaid's growth as a part of Utah's state budget, even before the Affordable Care Act passed. Medicaid's share of the overall general fund was as low as nine percent in the 1990s. By 2010, it was 18%, and current estimates for 2020 exceed 30%.
At 9:00 a.m. (EST), Governor Herbert met with Cindy Mann, the director of the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey Certification (CMCS). The CMCS is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In his meeting with Mann, the Governor specifically discussed Utah's request for Medicaid waivers which would allow Utah to be more flexible in its administration of Medicaid. The Governor said, "Our message is simple. To have any hope of success, Utah needs flexibility to make this model work in our unique state for our unique demographics and needs."
Heritage Foundation website: www.heritage.org