Committee Leaders Press HHS on Addition of Millions of Middle Class to Medicaid

June 23, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Leaders from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee today sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding more information on whether the administration was aware that millions of middle class Americans could qualify for, and in some cases be forced into, Medicaid and whether the administration supports efforts to repeal the relevant provision in the health care law that no longer counts Social Security benefits as income.
 
On March 30, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Chief Actuary Rick Foster stated before the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee that at least five million more Americans than originally estimated would qualify for the Medicaid program, increasing the total expansion to nearly 25 million Americans. This week, the Associated Press highlighted this costly consequence, reporting that this would include middle-class Americans with incomes around $64,000 for a couple.
 
Committee leaders wrote, "This committee has consistently raised concerns with the unsustainable expansion included in the president's health care reform plan. If this expansion is fully implemented, at least 1 in 4 Americans will become a Medicaid recipient. The intent of the Medicaid program was to be a safety net for our most vulnerable and poorest citizens. [This] transforms the Medicaid program from serving the most in need to an entitlement program for the middle-class.
 
"We write to ask you whether the administration was aware of this change to the definition of income and its potential impact on the Medicaid program, the federal and state deficits and the American taxpayers before the bill was passed by Congress.  We also ask whether the administration would support efforts to repeal this provision."
 
Click here to view full text of the letter.

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