California governor wants more say on Medicaid cost controls

California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Obama administration for broader leeway to control costs for the Medicaid program, reported the Sacramento Bee--a call for flexibility that's being echoed by other governors.

Brown raised the issue during a meeting of the National Governors Association meetings in Washington over the weekend.

"We need to be able to control costs, period," he said. "The federal government has the tendency to send out broad mandates and limit the state's authority, and then we have to come hat in hand and say, 'Please, let us manage this thing that you have thrust on us.'"

California lost a protracted legal battle last year to enact cuts to Medi-Cal, its version of the Medicaid program.

Other governors have said they want to expand Medicaid programs on their own terms, notes the Los Angeles Times--including Arizona's Jan Brewer, a Republican--by building an "escape hatch" in case federal dollars fall short. 

In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad would like a waiver from Health & Human Services to expand IowaCare, a limited-coverage program operated in conjunction with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics system, reported the Des Moines Register.

Meanwhile, as FierceHealthPayer reported last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced he would green light the expansion of the state's Medicaid program but said he only wants to expand Medicaid for three years, up to the point when the federal government will stop paying 100 percent of the expansion's costs.

To learn more:
- read the Sacramento Bee report
- read the LA Times article
- read the Des Moines Register article