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Dem Govs: Medicaid Block Grant Plan Puts Millions at Risk

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Dem Govs: Medicaid Block Grant Plan Puts Millions at Risk

Dem govs. speak out against Trump block grant plan that threatens vulnerable Americans, state budgets

With the Trump Administration announcing its intent this week to turn Medicaid into a block grant program, Democratic governors have emerged as the nation’s leading voice against the scheme that would throw state budgets into disarray and threaten health care benefits for millions. 

The GOP block grant proposal would impose federal cuts that would shift cost to states and eliminate critical health services for elderly, disabled and low-income Americans. GOP governors have been divided on the issue, with governors such as John Kasich (R-OH) signing letters to Congress expressing concern over cuts to Medicaid. Yesterday, the National Governors Association sent a letter urging House Republicans to preserve current Medicaid funding levels, writing “it is critical that Congress continue to maintain a meaningful federal role in this partnership and does not shift costs to states.”

But with the Trump Administration pushing a plan that would erode Medicaid coverage, Democratic governors are speaking out: 

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe:“Virginia has a very efficient Medicaid system today. A lot of them say, well, if you block grant it, you can get rid of the inefficiencies. We already have the efficiencies. And what will happen, it will strap our state budget. It will reduce benefits. It will limit choices.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown“Drastic changes to the Medicaid program could disrupt the progress Oregon has made. Additionally, changing the financing model as outlined in recent Congressional proposals could penalize states such as Oregon that have already lowered costs, while shifting increasing cost burdens of the program onto the state.”

Montana Governor Steve Bullock“Increased flexibility for states is a political imperative in places like Montana, but that flexibility should not be conflated with funding structures that will ultimately threaten the health of our state budget and reduce access to healthcare for tens of thousands of vulnerable Montanans.” 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo“If Congress fundamentally alters Medicaid and the federal commitment to states by placing an arbitrary cap on federal expenditures, thereby shifting the significant risk of increased eligibility and rising medical costs to states and localities, it would endanger the significant gains in cost savings, access, and quality accomplished by New York.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton“Cuts to Medicaid or MinnesotaCare under the guise of state flexibility would be devastating and simply shift costs to state and local governments.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards“As you know, Medicaid is the largest provider of long-term care in the nation. As the population ages, it is difficult for me to see how a block grant will help, rather than hurt, our efforts to provide care for those who cared for us – our parents and grandparents. I strongly believe that rationing health care is not the right approach for Louisiana and our nation.”

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper“We are concerned that block grant and per capita cap proposals will make it difficult to maintain coverage and benefits for Coloradans over the long term. Many proposals would force us to make impossible choices in our Medicaid program. These proposals would shift the cost of providing health care to Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens on our limited state budget or force us to make difficult cuts. We should not be forced to choose between providing hardworking older Coloradans with blood pressure medication or children with their insulin.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee“As the 115th Congress convenes, we also urge you not to undermine the Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance and Medicare programs. […] Our residents cannot afford any dismantling of these essential federal programs – whether through block grants, per-capita caps, privatization or other means.”

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy“Proposals to reduce federal Medicaid spending by converting the program to a block grant or imposing per-capita caps necessarily erode the federal-state partnership and the access to health care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Reducing federal support will likely force states to limit services, drastically cutting coverage to thousands, and as a result, health care needs and costs will resurface in inappropriate and more expensive venues such as hospital emergency rooms, shelters and prisons.” 

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo“Avoid transferring costs to states. Any such shifts would be unaffordable and unworkable for the states. Likewise, we must avoid increasing the burden of uncompensated care for our hospitals.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf“The current plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would cut health care for our most vulnerable residents, including children, seniors, and individuals suffering from opioid and heroin addiction. This will have a devastating impact for many Pennsylvanians, and I will fight any attempt to cut coverage for hard-working families and seniors.”