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Bush seeks to curb Medicaid cost-shifting

Posted - Dec. 20, 2004 at 11:40 a.m.



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WASHINGTON, Dec 20, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The Bush administration is determined to clamp down on various techniques states use to shift Medicaid costs to the federal government.

Before Congress even convenes next month to begin debate on a wide range of the administration's Medicaid reforms, auditors are being dispatched to state capitals, the New York Times said.

Funded jointly by the federal and state governments. Medicaid spending shot up 63 percent in the last five years. With more than 50 million beneficiaries and more than $300 billion a year in combined federal and state outlays, Medicaid is now bigger than Medicare. For prescription drugs alone, Medicaid spending soared to $34 billion in 2003, from $13.6 billion in 1998.

In examining how states may be shifting costs to the federal government, the Bush administration contends, in one case, Massachusetts improperly obtained more than $580 million in federal Medicaid money without paying its share. Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, met recently with Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, to defend the state's method of financing.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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