Republicans Press CMS on Medicaid Expansion Policies

Congressional Republicans are pressing Obama administration officials for details on the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion before they leave office next month.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Reps. Joe Pitts (Pa.) and Tim Murphy (Pa.) wrote to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt Monday, asking how the agency ensures ineligible people aren’t enrolling in Medicaid. The members asked Slavitt to respond within 30 days of receiving the letter.

The members say they want to make sure federal funds aren’t being spent on people who aren’t eligible for the program.

“With millions of Americans enrolled in the program, inconsistencies in CMS’s approach to expansion populations and expenditures can shift billions of dollars to states and taxpayers,” they wrote.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states can opt to expand Medicaid so low-income adults are eligible for it. Thirty-one states have opted to expand the program, and the Obama administration has pushed for more states to follow suit.

The federal government has covered 100 percent of the costs associated with expanding Medicaid since 2014, but some of that burden begins to shift to states next year, when the federal government picks up 95 percent of the cost. That’s set to continue dropping 1 percent per year until 2020, when the federal portion is set to stay at 90 percent for the expansion population.

Millions of Americans have gained insurance coverage under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and what will become of it is one of the primary questions facing Republicans as they look to repeal and replace the law. Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, led by Hatch, reached out to GOP governors last week to ask about what types of changes they’d like to see to Medicaid, including in an ACA replacement.

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