Thursday, October 27, 2005
From The Hill:
The Bush administration has shattered the National Governors Association’s (NGA’s) unified front in the ongoing debate about the future of Medicaid by successfully courting two governors to participate on a controversial panel.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) have agreed to sit on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Medicaid Commission, which wraps up a two-day meeting today. HHS announced the new panel members Tuesday.
The NGA had rejected offers to participate in the process despite the administration’s holding open two seats on the panel. The governors instead have worked independently to develop recommendations to the White House and Congress about how to reform Medicaid, which has become a major drag on state budgets. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt assembled the panel after Congress authorized it in the fiscal year 2006 budget resolution.
The defection of two governors from this formerly unanimous position could lend an air of credibility to the Medicaid Commission, which had been shunned not only by the governors but also by Congress.