Shaun Zinck Jun. 27, 2015, 9:08am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Congress should look into practices by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services coercing states to expand Medicaid programs, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt, along with nine other state attorneys general, addressed a letter on Tuesday to Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The letter said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should be investigated over allegations the center was withholding health care funding as a way to force states to expand Medicaid program.

“The United States Supreme Court has made clear that the federal government cannot compel states to administer federal programs, and CMS’s recent decisions to deny unrelated federal health care funding based on a state’s non-expansion of Medicaid constitutes unlawful coercion,” the letter stated.

CMS told Florida that it wouldn't receive funding for its Low Income Pool until it expanded Medicaid services, and Kansas is facing the same threats for a similar program.

“The Supreme Court said that it is up to the states to decide whether to expand their Medicaid programs,” Schmidt said. “The federal government may provide incentive for expansion, but it may not punish states for declining expansion by withdrawing unrelated financial support for other programs.”

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