Leavitt: Bush would approve delay of two Medicaid regulations

The Bush administration would accept a moratorium on two of seven proposed Medicaid regulations, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said this week.

Speaking Tuesday, Leavitt said that the president would be willing to delay a rule on reimbursement for graduate medical education (GME) and a regulation curtailing the use intergovernmental transfers (IGT) to healthcare facilities, including nursing homes. The plan so far has the support of only 14 Republican senators, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. It would delay the GME and IGT rules until August, with a possibility of further delays until March 2009. The IGT regulation is considered one of the harshest regulations for nursing homes.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that not implementing the seven Medicaid rules could cost more than $42 billion to federal taxpayers over the next 10 years, according to BNA. Other reports, however, have shown that the seven rules, if imposed, would cost roughly $50 billion to the states over five years. A one-year moratorium on the seven rules has already passed the House with a veto-proof margin, though it is not clear if the Senate can accomplish a similar feat.