Despite differences in governors’ plan for welfare and Medicaid and the White House vision, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said Wednesday that conflicts could be fixed “in 24 hours if everyone got to the table.” She told the Senate Finance Committee that Congress must make a number of changes to win approval from President Clinton. The plans were adopted unanimously by governors on February 6; they are based on a bill passed by Republicans but vetoed by Clinton.
“Let’s pass needed Medicaid and welfare reforms. Let’s cut the deficit. But let’s not mix up the two and pretend that one is the other,” Shalala said. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), an expert on welfare, argued that almost 5 million of the 10.2 million children expected to be receiving Aid to Dependent Children in 2005 would be cut off from assistance under the five-year time limit being considered. Of that 5 million, almost half would be African American. Sen. Carol Mosley-Braun (D-Ill.) said, “Clearly there is a disparate impact … on African Americans.”
Among Shalala’s other concerns about the plan were eliminating mandatory coverage of children between 13 and 18 and allowing states to set their own definitions for who would qualify as disabled.