Republican AGs: CMS must stop 'coercive efforts' to expand Medicaid

Ten Republican state attorneys general are asking Republican lawmakers to prevent the Obama administration from taking what they call "coercive efforts" to compel them into expanding their state Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.

In a letter to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Texas, South Carolina and Utah say they're concerned the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may threaten to withhold federal funds if they don't expand Medicaid.

"We welcome assistance from Congress in reigning in CMS, an agency insistent upon trampling the rights of our sovereign states to make critical policy decisions regarding Medicaid and, in terminating funding for critical health services, imperiling the lives of our most vulnerable citizens," the attorneys general write.

The 10 GOP-led states involved in the letter have refused to expand Medicaid, claiming they don't want any federal money linked to the ACA. Their letter comes after Florida Gov. Rick Scott sued the Obama administration for allegedly withholding money as a way to coerce the state into expanding Medicaid, FierceHealthFinance previously reported. 

Florida has since essentially resolved its dispute with CMS, as the state and the Obama administration announced an "agreement in principle" on the matter. But the attorneys general are concerned the agency would take similar actions in their own states, reports The Hill.

"Kansas, Tennessee and Texas face similar threats regarding their uncompensated care pools and are experiencing increasing pressure from CMS to expand Medicaid in exchange for continued funding under Section 1115," the letter states.

To learn more:
- here's the letter
- read The Hill article