Tags: Trump Administration | medicaid | blockgrants | states | conservatives

WSJ: Trump Admin. Guidance Coming on Medicaid Block Grants

alex azar speaks at his swearing in as sec. of hhs
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.  (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 19 January 2020 11:14 AM

After months of silence on Medicaid block grants, the Trump administration is expected to issue guidance to states on a potentially politically divisive program, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Block grants would give control of Medicaid to the states and permit the federal government to cap its spending on the 55-year-old program, which is currently open-ended. The U.S. matches whatever the state pays for the program, which provides healthcare benefits to one in five low-income Americans.

Opponents of block grants suggest the program would ultimately take coverage away from needy individuals.

"The block grant will include vulnerable eligibility groups such as children and people with disabilities and requests unprecedented changes that could make it harder for patients to get the treatments and services that they need," 18 patient groups argued in a letter last month to Health and Human Services, per the report.

In November, the Office of Management and Budget had indicated block-grant instructions had been withdrawn by the administration, as opponents have argued they circumvent congressional funding authority and it would be illegal to waive the open-ended federal funding under Medicaid, according to the report.

Tennessee, Alaska, and Oklahoma are reportedly seeking block-grants waivers to free their states from federal healthcare requirements and give them more flexibility to serving their constituents and controlling costs in their state.

"Regrettably, the Trump administration is encouraging states to apply for these illegal waivers in its ongoing effort to fundamentally alter and weaken Medicaid's financing structure," Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote in a Jan. 14 joint letter to the Health and Human Services inspector general, per the report.

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After months of silence on Medicaid block grants, the Trump administration is expected to issue guidance to states on a potentially politically divisive program, sources told The Wall Street Journal...
medicaid, blockgrants, states, conservatives
272
2020-14-19
Sunday, 19 January 2020 11:14 AM
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