GOP's Medicaid Block-Grant Plan Won't Happen While Obama's In Office

The Republican House and Senate budget blueprints agree that Medicaid should be turned into a capped state block-grant program to save hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade. But both Republican and Democratic strategists say the proposal will not be enacted this year—and won't be seriously considered unless Republicans win the White House and hold Congress after the 2016 elections.

The proposal to block-grant Medicaid would cut federal funding by $913 billion over the next decade, according to the House budget plan.

Restructuring the Medicaid program into a block-grant model would mean the federal government would make a fixed contribution to the states that would not necessarily keep pace with rising Medicaid costs. States would receive a fixed dollar amount that would rise annually with general inflation and population growth, under the GOP proposals. This would give states the flexibility to do what they want with their Medicaid programs, including customize delivery systems and reduce eligibility and benefits, without strict oversight by the CMS.

Despite years of making no progress in turning Medicaid into a block-grant program, Republican lawmakers will continue to push for it because their constituents say they want tangible solutions to bring down the federal deficit, said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008.

Read more from Virgil Dickson at Modern Healthcare 

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