Congress Versus the States: The Latest Chapter in the Medicaid Saga

Dennis Smith /

Eleven months ago, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) was created by Congress. The Commission is supposed to review the policies, including payment policies, that affect the access of children to the services provided through Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program. Two weeks ago, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced the appointment of the 17 MACPAC members. The Commission’s first report to Congress making recommendations is due in 36 business days. The appointees themselves are first rate, no one would dispute the credentials of the members individually or collectively. But they have been asked to toil in futility.

If Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and President Obama stick to their timetable for health care legislation, the MACPAC report will occur after the largest Medicaid expansion in history has taken place. Congress apparently is in too big of a hurry to hear from the panel of experts it assembled. (more…)