ATR President Grover Norquist today sent the following letter to Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah):

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, I am pleased to support H.R. 1683 and
S. 868, the “State Flexibility Act.”  This bill would repeal the “maintenance of effort” requirements for Medicaid first imposed on states in the 2009 trillion-dollar “stimulus” law and made worse by Obamacare.  I urge all Congressmen and Senators to support and vote for this crucial legislation.

“Maintenance of effort” rules prevent states from cutting or otherwise reforming their Medicaid programs through 2013 (2019 in the case of minors).  This ties the hands of the states, stopping them from transforming their Medicaid systems into workable programs, rather than one-size-fits-all behemoths dictated by bureaucrats in Washington.  

This is a particularly-bad time for states to be prevented from enacting meaningful reforms, since they face a collective over-spending problem of $175 billion, and Medicaid now consumes 22 percent of state budgets.  It’s essential that Medicaid be put on the table as states grapple with reining in the over-spending of past years.  Failure to reform Medicaid in a way that relieves future generations of unfunded spending promises is irresponsible, but Washington telling states they cannot enact these reforms is even worse.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the State Flexibility Act will save taxpayers $2.1 billion over the next decade.  With states clamoring to reform their Medicaid programs, and with taxpayers at both the federal and state levels under increased pressures by the spending lobby, it’s essential that the “State Flexibility Act” become law.