Medicaid overhaul, state 'defined budgets' recommended to supercommittee

A group of Republican lawmakers who sit on the Senate Finance Committee have forwarded their recommendations to the Joint Selection Committee on Deficit Reduction regarding cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

The group proposed a radical overhaul of the Medicaid program, recommending that states be given "defined budgets" rather than rely on the current cost-sharing and fund-matching structure; "design benefits that comport with private-sector coverage, encourage healthy beneficiary behavior, and better manage chronic disease"; and work more closely with the federal government in terms of providing more coordinated care for dual-eligible Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries.

As for Medicare, the group recommended that the eligibility for the overall program be addressed; a uniform deductible for Part A and Part B be established; and efforts against "fraud, waste and abuse" be strengthened.

Regarding Medicare Part A, the group proposed reducing geographic variations in healthcare spending and evaluating cost-sharing structures for post-acute services. For the Part D drug program, it recommended "a reevaluation and examination of the current Part D cost-sharing thresholds to ensure long-term health of the program."

To learn more:
- read the Senate Finance Republicans statement