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Capitol Health Call
March 5, 2003

Proposal for State Medicaid Autonomy Under Fire

JAMA. 2003;289(9):1093. doi:10.1001/jama.289.9.1093-a

Congressional democrats have castigated the Bush administration's proposal to give states more autonomy when spending Medicaid dollars.

Under the plan, states would be permitted to change Medicaid regulations, simplify and alter eligibility requirements, and tailor or cut benefits. States would no longer have to apply for federal waivers to deviate from federal standards for Medicaid eligibility and benefits.

The proposal also would give states a fixed amount of money, rather than matching funds, for the beneficiaries that they choose to cover. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson defended the plan, saying that it gives states "flexibility."