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CBO Confirms Ryan’s Medicaid Block Grant Would Likely Harm States, Beneficiaries, and Providers

April 6, 2011

The majority of the $1.4 trillion in Medicaid cuts over the next ten years in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would come from converting the program into a block grant. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued an analysis yesterday finding that block-granting Medicaid would shift costs to states, beneficiaries, and health care providers — just as we have argued. Among CBO’s key findings:

Ryan’s Rx for Medicaid Means Millions More Uninsured or Underinsured Seniors, People with Disabilities, and Children

April 4, 2011

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will unveil a budget tomorrow that would cut Medicaid by as much as $1 trillion over the next 10 years and convert it into a block grant. He and others will likely claim that these changes would merely rein in “out-of-control” Medicaid costs while letting states stretch their reduced federal funding and maintain coverage for people who are on Medicaid now or will need it in the future.

Medicaid Costs Growing More Slowly Than Private Insurance

March 2, 2011

Medicaid costs per beneficiary grew much more slowly over the past decade than costs for employer-sponsored insurance or across the health care system as a whole, according to a new Urban Institute study conducted for the Kaiser Family Foundation. It’s just the latest evidence that contradicts the false – though oft-repeated – claim that Medicaid costs are growing out of control and, as a result, policymakers should convert Medicaid into a block grant.

Medicaid Block Grant Would Leave States Holding the Bag

February 24, 2011

In a previous post, I explained why block-granting Medicaid or otherwise capping its funding is no solution to rising costs. It’s also a really bad deal for states, as a report we released yesterday explains. A block grant would shift significant financial risks and costs from the federal government to the states, especially during recessions.

House Continuing Resolution Not Good for Medicare

February 24, 2011

The House-passed continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011 would weaken Medicare by deeply cutting administrative funding and blocking implementation of numerous Medicare improvements and efficiencies in the health reform law.

Medicaid Costs Less Than Private Insurance

January 13, 2011

In last week’s post explaining why block-granting Medicaid or capping its funding would be ill-advised, I noted that Medicaid costs per beneficiary have risen at about the same rate as costs across the health-care system as a whole (both public and private) in recent decades. Moreover, Medicaid actually costs less per beneficiary than private insurance, after taking into account differences in health status. This chart shows how much less.

Block Grant No Solution for Rising Medicaid Costs

January 7, 2011

In the intensifying debate over cutting federal spending, troubling proposals to block-grant Medicaid or otherwise cap its funding are getting new attention. For example, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has already discussed block-granting Medicaid with some governors.

Opting out of Medicaid Not Just “Unthinkable,” but Unwise and Unnecessary

November 22, 2010

A few states have begun discussing “a once-unthinkable scenario” — dropping out of the federal-state Medicaid program — in an attempt to save money, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Under one proposal, instead of expanding its Medicaid program in 2014 as the health reform law requires, a state would eliminate the program and give up federal Medicaid funding on the assumption that it could shift most beneficiaries into the new health insurance exchanges that the law will create, where they would get federally funded tax credits to buy health coverage. The state would then cover the rest of the former Medicaid beneficiaries entirely with state funds and somehow come out financially ahead.

HHS Prevents Insurers from Undercutting Key Reform for Children’s Coverage

October 13, 2010

A provision of the health reform law that took effect last month prohibits insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions. As a result, for the first time in most states, families with children with serious illnesses, chronic conditions, and special health care needs will be able to purchase coverage for their children in the individual health insurance market. But some insurance companies are resisting the change — and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a letter today clarifying what insurers can and can’t do under the new rules.

Not Much Med in Mini-Med Plans

October 6, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that McDonald’s was considering eliminating health coverage for some of its hourly employees because the company’s health plan couldn’t comply with health reform’s requirement that it spend a certain percentage of its premiums on medical care rather than overhead or profits.