Trump’s Medicaid Block Grant Plan Would Cut Coverage And Raise Costs

Today, the Trump administration rolled out a new Medicaid block grant program. Despite their efforts to rebrand it, the plan would risk cutting coverage, while raising costs.

The Trump administration’s Medicaid block grants could reduce coverage, health services, and financial security while raising costs.

Politico: “The block grant plan, which invites states to request capped funding for poor adults covered by Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, also would let states limit health benefits and drugs available to some patients.”

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Weakening that guarantee — or eliminating the federal standards and oversight that ensure that states, health plans, and providers comply with it — would worsen access to care, health, and financial security for beneficiaries and likely increase providers’ uncompensated care costs. Meanwhile, capping federal funding would likely shift costs to states, since they would be solely responsible for unexpected costs above the cap instead of sharing those costs with the federal government as they do today.”

The Trump administration knows how unpopular and hurtful cutting Medicaid is that they are trying to rebrand the program to fool the American people — it won’t work.

Politico: “The Trump administration will rebrand its Medicaid block grant program and look to safeguard the policy against an expected wave of legal challenges from patient advocates. … The forthcoming block grant program comes with a new name — ‘Healthy Adult Opportunity’ — but retains the original mission long sought by conservatives: allowing states to cap a portion of their spending on Medicaid, a radical change in how the safety net health program is financed.”

Yet again, Trump broke his promise that he wouldn’t cut Medicaid.

Trump: “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

Trump’s proposal takes aim at Medicaid expansion, which has been credited with improving health outcomes, including reducing opioid overdose deaths.

The Hill: “A new study finds that Medicaid expansion improved people’s health in Southern states, resulting in fewer declines in people’s health. The study published in Health Affairs finds that Medicaid expansion made declines in health status 1.8 percentage points less likely in states that expanded the medical coverage.”

Vox: “Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which gave millions of low-income adults access to health insurance, was linked to a 6 percent reduction in opioid overdose death rates — potentially preventing thousands of deaths — according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.”

Trump clearly hasn’t learned anything from his past failed attempts to push this reckless policy, which voters overwhelmingly oppose.

Washington Post: “Medicaid block grants are a longstanding GOP priority. Congressional Republicans included the concept in 2017 legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, although they were never able to pass those bills.”

Vox: “The 2020 budget’s Medicaid reforms include adding work requirements and repealing Medicaid expansion and one of the most successful policies within the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion reduced the uninsured rate by more than 6 percent in states that enacted the policy; it continues to show better health outcomes and is popular in conservative states. But Trump is envisioning changing Medicaid altogether; his budget proposes transforming the current pay-as-needed system to a block grant, where states are given a capped lump-sum fund that doesn’t grow with increased need or rising costs.”

Protect Our Care Poll: “Despite Trump’s campaign promise to oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, he proposed a budget that makes these cuts after he already gave new tax breaks to big corporations. 60% of voters say they oppose Trump’s proposed Medicaid cuts, 72% say they oppose the Medicare cuts and 50% of voters say they’re less likely to vote for him because of these proposed cuts.”