Roth Seeks Governors' Help to Reform Medicaid, Welfare

Article excerpt

The Senate Finance Committee yesterday alternately grilled and thanked the leaders of the National Governors' Association, which is advocating reforms in welfare and Medicaid.

Sen. William V. Roth Jr., the committee chairman, said congressional and state staffs should work closely together to get reforms passed and sent to President Clinton "so we can get these on the books."

"It will be a bipartisan effort," said Mr. Roth, Delaware Republican, responding to complaints that last year's welfare reform efforts were exclusively Republican.

In December, Mr. Clinton vetoed welfare and Medicaid reforms, which were part of the balanced-budget bill. On Jan. 9, he vetoed the a stand-alone welfare bill.

According to federal statistics, the nation spends more than $300 billion a year on cash, food, medical, housing, energy and social programs for the poor. The annual bill for Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides medical care for 34 million poor families, senior citizens and the disabled, is estimated to reach $150 billion this year.

The bipartisan National Governors' Association this month unanimously approved welfare and Medicaid reform resolutions. GOP and Democratic governors have spent the week explaining their proposals to the House and Senate panels that would write the bills. …