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Governors Of Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, And Rhode Island Express Concerns With Unfunded Mandates In Health Reform

Rep. Mike Rogers

legislator photo

Madam Speaker, I rise today to express concerns regarding health reform proposals which would create unfunded state mandates. Legislation currently before the House would dramatically expand the Medicaid program and place over $35 billion in new liabilities on state budgets over the next ten years. In addition, these proposals would expand the federal government's role in administering Medicaid, which would severely handcuff states' ability to run their own programs and preempt state authority to manage Medicaid eligibility and benefits.

Over the last several weeks, governors have expressed concerns over these proposals. I would like to submit for the Record the following letters from the governors of Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada and Rhode Island:

Dear Senator Nelson and Senator Johanns: I am writing to alert you that the analysis provided by the staff to the members of the NGA Health Care Reform Task Force indicates that the Chairman's Mark released by Senator Baucus this morning contains a new unfunded Medicaid mandate. Earlier this year I wrote both of you expressing my concern that this might occur as part of health care reform. I greatly appreciate the fact that both of you have repeatedly expressed concerns about the negative impact that health care reform could have on the Federal deficit and the State budget. As former Governors you understand the impact that Medicaid has on state spending. This new unfunded federal Medicaid mandate could result in higher taxes on Nebraskans or in cutting state aid to Nebraska's school districts as well as state appropriations to our universities, state colleges and community colleges. This proposal is not in Nebraska's best interests. As we develop more specific information, I will be providing you with our best estimates of the magnitude of the impact on Nebraska. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, Dave Heineman, Governor, Nebraska.