Sonny Perdue on Health Care
Republican GA Governor
Here in Georgia, this vote will force an additional billion dollars or more of Medicaid spending per year, requiring either a tax hike or offsetting cuts to public safety, education and other core services of state government. While this colossal unfunded mandate cripples our budget, I am even more concerned about the debilitating impact it will have on Georgia's small businesses.
What is most unfortunate is that the American people had no voice at the table in Washington during the course of this debate. The only glimpse citizens saw of the process were closed-door meetings that resulted in backroom deals and the buying of votes to ensure passage. I am requesting that Georgia join other states in reviewing the constitutionality of this travesty.
I want to be clear, my interes is not driven purely by legal mandates, but from my own personal belief that we have a moral obligation to serve those with disabilities. We are our brothers' keepers.
That obligation should carry a tangible effort. It's a hard thing to do in these budget times... the budgets that I will release on Friday will include additional investment--$20 million in 2010 and over $50 million in 2011.
Together, we are making concerted efforts to do the right thing for this vulnerable population. I ask for your continued support as well as that of our consumers, providers, advocates, families and communities to help us develop a system of care of which we can be proud.
"There's been strong and steadfast support in both parties and in all regions of the country for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) ever since its creation in 1997. This program has enabled millions of children the opportunity to see a doctor, to receive preventative care and to live healthier lives. Yet the progress we have made is now threatened. For health and moral reasons, Congress must reauthorize SCHIP by September 30, 2007. Without timely reauthorization and funding, it will be virtually impossible for states to continue coverage for children already enrolled in SCHIP programs."
As Governors, we are writing to you regarding the excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates. One of our biggest concerns continues to be the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which prevent states from managing their Medicaid programs for their unique Medicaid populations. We ask for your immediate action to remove these MOE requirements so that states are once again granted the flexibility to control their program costs and make necessary budget decisions.
Every Governor, Republican and Democrat, will face unprecedented budget challenges in the coming months. Efforts to regulate state operations impose greater uncertainty on our budgets for oncoming years and create a perfect storm when coupled with the current state of the economy.
Health and education are the primary cost drivers for most state budgets. Medicaid enrollment is up. Revenues are down. States are unable to afford the current Medicaid program, yet our hands are tied by the MOE requirements. The effect of the federal requirements is unconscionable; the federal requirements force Governors to cut other critical state programs, such as education, in order to fund a "one-size-fits-all" approach to Medicaid. Again, we ask you to lift the MOE requirements so that states may make difficult budget decisions in ways that reflect the needs of their residents.