By Consumers For Quality Care, on February 12, 2020
A new Trump administration proposal for Medicaid is causing major controversy over its potentially large impact on the Medicaid program and those who rely on it.
As The Hill reports, the proposal involves allowing states to convert Medicaid funding into a “block grant.” This would allow states to cut open-ended Medicaid programs and implement things like hard caps, work requirements, and cost sharing.
The program — branded as the “Healthy Adult Opportunity” — will allow states to ask permission to end their traditional, open-ended Medicaid program and put hard caps on how much money states and the federal government will spend on the poor and disabled.
The change is very controversial. Congress rejected block grants when the GOP’s health care bill failed in 2017. Allowing them now through executive authority would constitute a huge expansion of executive power.
Allowing block grants is the boldest step the Trump administration has taken to change Medicaid. The device has long been criticized by patient advocates who argue the changes would lead to harmful cuts to Medicaid, and specifically seniors, pregnant women, young adults and homeless adults.
“Even after people across the country spoke out and pressed Congress to reject President Trump’s plan to gut Medicaid with his Trumpcare bill, he’s still charging forward with harmful policies that will hurt the many families who rely on Medicaid,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Thursday.
Democrats have also pointed out that the block grants will likely give states the opportunity to cut benefits and endanger the lives of the very populations that Medicaid was created to protect.