HHS Reinstates Medicaid Benefits Removed under Bush

This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rolled back three Bush administration regulations designed to limit Medicaid services. In a statement, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “These regulations, if left in place would have potentially adverse consequences for Medicaid beneficiaries, some of our nation’s most vulnerable people.”

One of those regulations narrowed the definition of outpatient hospital services to reduce Medicaid beneficiaries' access to those services, such as dental and vision care. The rule, finalized Nov. 7, 2008, was one of many in the Bush administration’s midnight regulations campaign.

During the last few months of President Bush’s term, agencies finalized dozens of controversial regulations, most of which reduced the role of government and/or limited oversight of businesses. Health care, environmental, and labor advocates, among others, criticized the administration’s efforts. The rescission of the outpatient services rule is the latest example of actions the Obama administration has taken to mitigate the impact of those rule changes.

HHS rescinded two other regulations, both published in 2007. One regulation “would have eliminated reimbursement for school-based administrative costs and costs of transportation to and from schools.” The other “would have restricted beneficiary access to case management services.”

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