Gary Herbert on Health Care
In fact, we and 26 other states are asserting our right and our obligation to say no to an unconstitutional federal health care program. Over the past three years we have worked closely with you in the Legislature to create solutions to reform Utah's health care system. We are also taking the lead to rein in outrageous cost increases in federally mandated entitlement programs, before those costs further impair our ability to fund education and other vital state services. In the election last November, the people sent a message that federal domination must give way to mutual collaboration. Unfortunately, that message was promptly ignored.
This Utah-crafted solution is an innovative approach to increase transparency in the health care system, to increase access and to increase choice. Already, hundreds of Utahns have coverage in plans they have chosen for themselves. This is a revolutionary approach to health benefits that will soon be available to even more Utahns.
Our Exchange is one example of how states can--and should--lead the nation on health care reform. We don't want or need a one-size-fits-all program that will balloon our national deficit and provide questionable care to our citizens. The continued encroachment of the federal government into our businesses, our lives and our pocketbooks must be challenged.
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.