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.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The Wall Street Journal editorialized today that the federal waiver under which Rhode Island operates its Medicaid program is a “case study” of the potential benefits of converting Medicaid to a block grant. Hardly.
In the intensifying debate over cutting federal spending, we’re hearing more and more about troubling proposals to change Medicaid from a program with open-ended federal financing to a program with capped funding. Edwin Park, Vice President for Health Policy here at the Center, discusses the growing concern:
We issued a major report today that suggests a framework for a comprehensive deficit reduction package. It discusses the appropriate mix of tax and program savings for it, recommends some important ways to achieve those savings, explains the effects that such a package should have on poverty and inequality, and highlights some misguided proposals that policymakers should avoid.
Warning that Medicare and Medicaid are “the primary drivers of upward pressure on the Federal budget,” House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan and former Congressional Budget Office head Alice Rivlin have proposed replacing Medicare with vouchers and Medicaid with a block grant.
One year ago today, President Obama signed the historic Affordable Care Act — i.e., health reform. Since most of the recent public attention to health reform has concerned efforts in Congress or the courts to undermine the new law, it’s worth recalling what the law will actually do.
I explained earlier this month that a recent report from some congressional Republicans grossly exaggerates state Medicaid costs under health reform. Now, in a new analysis, I examine the report’s problems in more detail.
As we’ve noted, troubling proposals to convert Medicaid into a block grant are getting new attention, and a recent paper by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative policy group American Action Forum, cites a demonstration project that Rhode Island is operating under a federal waiver as evidence that states would fare quite well under a block grant.
The health reform law requires states to maintain their current eligibility rules for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program until 2014, when new nationwide Medicaid rules will take effect that will help reduce the number of uninsured. Yesterday, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Senate Finance Committee’s top Republican, asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to grant waivers from this “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirement to states that want to reduce their Medicaid and CHIP spending by covering fewer people. That would be a serious step backward for health reform.