Print Friendly and PDFPrinter Friendly Version

Press release
January 23, 2017

Block Granting Medicaid Is Simply a Backdoor Way to Cut State Funding and Ultimate Coverage and Services

Breaks Trump’s Promise to “Cover Everybody”

Washington, D.C. In an interview on the NBC “Sunday Today” program on January 22, 2017, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said that the President will propose converting the Medicaid program to a block grant. The following is the comment of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the consumer health organization Families USA, about this development:

“Block granting Medicaid is just another way to cut Medicaid. It is not a new or innovative idea. And it will severely undermine the program, cutting services, stripping coverage from millions and ultimately hurting the health of the children, seniors and people with disabilities who rely on the program.

“Block grants will also hit state budgets hard. The amount of federal Medicaid dollars that a state receives is based on what it actually costs the state to provide health coverage to people with Medicaid. If costs go up, or if the economy stalls and many more people become eligible for the program, states are guaranteed additional federal funds. With block grants, the states will be left holding the bag for any extra costs.

“Blocks grants don’t do anything to foster innovation. States already have significant flexibility to innovate within the Medicaid program in order to improve health care quality and reduce costs. But there are certain basic services states must provide so no one falls through the cracks. Block grants could undermine that coverage and care guarantees, harming millions in the process.

“President Trump vowed to cover everybody with his so-called replacement plan, but Medicaid block grants are a step in the opposite direction. They represent a broken promise from our new President in his very first week in office.”