Washington (CNN) – On the day that congressional Republicans appointed to the "super committee" meet for the first time, GOP governors are looking for more flexibility in reforming Medicaid.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said a Medicaid reform report produced Tuesday by the Republican Governors Association should be "helpful" for the congressional super committee.
"Many of these solutions will save money but also improve the quality of care. That ought to be and I expect is exactly what Congress is and should be looking for," Barbour said.
Research on the report began before the "super committee" selections were announced in August. Barbour called the timing of the release purely "serendipitous."
The report's genesis was a joint letter from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) sent in May 2011 that asked governors to provide suggestions for Medicaid reform. Since research started, Upton was named to the "super committee."
According to Barbour, RGA staff has worked with Upton's office on the report.
"Policies handed down from Washington have significant consequences for states and local governments," Upton said in a release. "Rather than imposing new federal mandates, we are building a new partnership with governors."
Barbour acknowledged that the "super committee" is going to make decisions that will mean less money for states, but said this situation is no different than when Congress is normally in session.
"Whether it is 12 or 535, it is just a number," Barbour said. "Kind of like age."
Signed by all Republican governors, "A New Medicaid: A Flexible, Innovative and Accountable Future" is a 31-point report that Barbour says offers states options for reforming Medicaid.
Some of the suggestions within the report include requiring the federal government to take full responsibility for the uncompensated care of treating illegal immigrants and allowing states more flexibility on determining eligibility for programs.
"We do not expect or recommend that every governor adopt every practice," Barbour said. "But all of these principles are good to be considered by the states."
The report will serve as a basis for a health care summit that the RGA will hold on October 24 and 25, 2011 in Washington, D.C.