The National Governors Association has developed a package of proposals that could help private health insurers and long term care insurers.[@@]

The NGA, Washington, came up with the package in an effort to cut state Medicaid spending. Many of the proposals deal specifically with the mechanics of the Medicaid program, but one is a recommendation that the federal government subsidize the pools that states establish for insuring the health of residents who are at a high risk of filing big medical claims.

The package also encourages Congress to provide tax credits to help individuals and small businesses buy private health insurance.

Another proposal could encourage use of private insurance and reverse mortgages to finance long term care, by discourage older Americans from qualifying for Medicaid nursing home benefits by transferring assets to relatives or putting assets in trusts.

“Medicaid reform must include changes that increase the penalties for inappropriate transfers, restrict the types of assets that can be transferred, and encourage reverse mortgages, as well as other policies that encourage individuals and their families to self-finance care rather than rely on Medicaid,” NGA Chairman Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and NGA Vice Chairman Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Medicaid Reform, according to a written version of their remarks.

The NGA has posted links to documents describing its proposals at http://www.nga.org