Alexander Says Medicaid Should Be Washington’s Problem

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander addressed a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander addressed a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander says the federal government should be fully responsible for Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor. And he’s willing to make a trade. Alexander floated the idea during a speech to the state’s General Assembly.

Most of Alexander’s address was about how he trusts states to handle programs more than the federal government. But not Medicaid. And he says now is the time for Washington to take full control, as states are considering whether to expand the program as envisioned under Obamacare.

“There’s a lot of attention on how the Medicaid program is bankrupting states and how it would be better run if either the federal government or the state government ran it. Right now it’s got two bosses, and you’ve got rules made in Washington. Then the state has to carry out the rules and carry out a significant part of it.”

Alexander calls his proposal a “Grand Swap.” The federal government would take over Medicaid and states would become fully responsible for funding K-through-12 education.

While governor of Tennessee during the Reagan Administration, Alexander made a similar proposal, but it went nowhere.

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