A federal commission delivered its suggestions for trimming spending on Medicaid by as much as $10 billion this year to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Thursday. Proposals include tighter limits on asset transfers by nursing home and long-term care patients and a suggestion that the program could save billions by allowing states to increase co-pays charged to Medicaid recipients. Under the current system, copays are capped by law at $3. The panel recommended steering patients toward generics. Other recommendations included allowing individual states the flexibility to charge more in some cases for certain drugs, such as more expensive specialty medications, might allow Medicaid to recoup much of its current losses. Critics have depicted such proposals as a potential catastrophe for low-income patients.
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