GOP chairmen question ObamaCare's Medicaid spending

GOP chairmen question ObamaCare's Medicaid spending
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican chairmen is pressing the Obama administration for answers about ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion as the fate of the program is up in the air. 

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears MORE (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Pennsylvania Reps. Tim Murphy and Joe Pitts on Monday sent a letter raising concerns about federal dollars being “wasted” as part of ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income people. 

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The lawmakers asked a range of questions about how the administration ensures federal Medicaid dollars are not being improperly spent, such as how states and the federal government determine what the proper federal share of Medicaid spending should be for different types of enrollees.

“With millions of Americans enrolled in the program, inconsistencies in [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services'] approach to expansion populations and expenditures can shift billions of dollars to states and taxpayers,” the lawmakers wrote. 

As Republicans look to repeal ObamaCare, they will have to decide what to do about the law’s expansion of Medicaid, which has provided coverage for about 11 million newly eligible people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation

Republicans have often criticized Medicaid as providing substandard coverage, but some states with Republican governors have expanded the program and rely on the extra federal funds in their budgets.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this month asked governors in all 50 states for their input on an ObamaCare replacement, including their thoughts on how to make changes to Medicaid. 

Many leading Republicans, including President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE, have called for providing block grants to states for Medicaid, which would offer a set amount of funding rather than the current more open-ended commitment. Democrats warn such a move would lead to a cut in benefits.