Consent-Decree Bill Could Alter Medicaid System

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A bill being rushed through the House that would limit consent decrees between the federal state governments could also leave millions in jeopardy of losing Medicaid coverage, policy experts say. The bill has so far met with little debate.

Governors say they need the bill to bring states' Medicaid spending under control. But the bill would also nullify past court settlements, which could have serious implications for the nation's poor.

Consent decrees, an often arcane part of policy, are used for everything from government takeovers of badly run schools or housing projects to state-run Medicaid programs.

They are a commonly used legal method to bring about settlements between the government and other parties, including businesses and other divisions of government.

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