WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Chuck Grassley is pressing the U.S. government to release a report on the fiscal situation of Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, saying in a letter released on Friday it would give a sense of the pressures U.S. states are currently confronting.
“It is of significant concern that this report has not been submitted according to the deadline set in law by Congress,” Grassley said in a letter to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the report that was due January 1.
It would provide “the critical information Congress and the public need in order fully assess the impact of Medicaid costs on federal and state budgets, especially in light of the fact that health care reform enacted a significant expansion of Medicaid,” the Iowa Senator, who is the most powerful Republican on the Finance Committee, said.
The healthcare reform plan championed by President Barack Obama made more people eligible for Medicaid, placing a greater burden on states, which administer the program with reimbursements from the U.S. government. Under the plan, the federal government will completely cover the costs of new enrollees in the first few years of the reforms.
The reform plan calls for reports to be made to Congress on Medicaid’s fiscal challenges, which is especially important as states face historically large budget shortfalls that could affect their Medicaid administration, Grassley said.
Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Kenneth Barry