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White House asks states to cut costs without dropping Medicaid coverage

The Obama administration is deploying squadrons of in-house experts to help budget-strapped states figure out how to save money on Medicaid, the health program for the poor that has been a source of rising tensions between state capitals and Washington. In recent weeks, both Democratic and Republican governors have been pressing the administration to be flexible in enforcing a requirement in the new health-care law that bars states from tightening eligibility for the program between now and 2014, when an additional 16 million people will be eligible for the program. Some states want to tighten eligibility now to curb spending. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has a difficult balancing act. The former governor of Kansas wants to improve relations with the governors, who are due Saturday in Washington for a big meeting. But she also wants to expand Medicaid, not shrink it.
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