Medicaid block grants are coming. It’s one of Paul Ryan’s top priorities and a scheme that Republican states want to change more than anything, so they can balance their depleted budgets. Since Medicaid (BadgerCare) consumes over 18% of the state budget, the GOP wants to take a meat clever to it and slash the number of people getting health care. Nasty place to cut.
Trump is almost certain to grant Ryan’s request, which would cut the federal strings (rules and regs) that come with the program that protects the recipients and families.
You may be wondering why Republicans are doing this. Well, they think health care is a consumer product that we just go out and buy. But it’s not. Insurance is. Their assumption? If enough people get treated for heart attacks, demand goes up, and the price will come down. Insane? Sure.
For example, here’s New Hampshire’s pie in the sky brutally cold proposal just rejected by the Obama administration. It’s just a sample of things to come with “block grants:”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is denying a New Hampshire waiver request that would impose a work requirement on the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries, create new standards for verifying U.S. citizenship and penalize beneficiaries if they use the ER in non-emergency situations.
Verify U.S. citizenship and actually penalizing people for going to the ER for something that turned out to be not so serious? Who made average people doctors? The penalty amount may not be much now, but just wait.
The CMS said it was unwilling to approve any of the requests as they “could undermine access, efficiency, and quality of care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries and do not support the objectives of the Medicaid program (PDF). The denial follows rejections of similar proposals submitted by Ohio and Arizona.
In August, the state requested that those considered eligible either work, train for a job, be actively searching for work or other work-related activities for at least 30 hours per week … also sought to require newly-eligible adults to verify that they are U.S. citizens by providing two forms of identification, and verify that they are residents of New Hampshire by providing a state-issued driver’s license or a non-driver’s license picture identification card.
Finally, the state sought a policy that would require beneficiaries who visit the emergency room for non-emergency purposes to pay a copayment of $8 for the first visit and $25 for each subsequent visit.
But this one basic true stood out for me:
“Linking Medicaid eligibility to employment has no connection to the purposes of the Medicaid program,” Community Catalyst, a consumer advocacy group, said in a comment.
A former liberal radio talk host who likes to ask the “follow-up question” at Democurmudgeon.blogspot.com