As House Republicans Step Up Efforts To Revamp Medicaid, GOP Senators Meet About Concerns
House committees weigh measures that would restructure Medicaid eligibility and would transform the program into a block grant system that would give states more control and perhaps less funding. But some Republican senators from states that have expanded Medicaid under the health law held a meeting this week to discuss their views about possible changes. News reports also look at Medicaid developments in Kansas and Missouri.
The Wall Street Journal:
GOP Ramps Up Effort To Transform Medicaid Into Block Grants
Congressional Republicans are stepping up efforts to overhaul how Medicaid is funded, a move that could reduce the funds states receive while giving states more control over the roughly $500 billion program. House Republicans this week weighed bills on Medicaid eligibility that are widely seen as their first move toward a broader overhaul. (Levitz and Armour, 2/9)
Republican Senators Wrestle With Changes To Medicaid
Republican senators who hail from states that expanded Medicaid are meeting about the future of the program as their party moves ahead with the repeal of ObamaCare. The senators had their first meeting on Wednesday in the office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is from a state that expanded Medicaid and whose Republican governor, John Kasich, has been a vocal defender of it. (Sullivan, 2/9)
KanCare Expansion Advocates Stage Statehouse Rally And Pack Hearing
A yearlong campaign aimed at building support for Medicaid expansion culminated Wednesday in a show-of-force lobbying effort aimed at convincing Kansas lawmakers that they still have time to act. A crowd of approximately 200 filled the north wing of the Statehouse for a rally before the House Health and Human Services Committee convened a hearing on a bill that would expand eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to more low-income Kansans. (McLean, 2/9)
St. Louis Public Radio:
Medicaid Block Grants: Cost Savings Or Restricting Health Care To Missouri’s Poor?
Missouri legislators are considering a measure that would allow the state to fold into a proposal that has become a popular GOP refrain: Convert funding for state Medicaid programs into block grants.Senate Bill 28 would allow Missouri to ask the federal government for a block grant to pay for its Medicaid program, MO HealthNet, each year. Under current law, the federal government picks up a portion of the cost of care for whatever the program’s enrollees use. Proponents say a block grant, which would deliver the state a set amount of money each year, would rein in rising health care costs and give Missouri more control over how the program’s dollars are spent. Critics say the change would restrict care to those who need it most because health care spending is outpacing inflation. (Bouscaren, 2/9)
The Washington Post:
School District Chiefs: Proposed Medicaid Changes Would Hurt Poor Children And Students With Disabilities
A new survey of school district leaders across the country finds that they are deeply worried that Republican proposals to refinance Medicaid, if they become law, would hurt students who live in poverty and those with disabilities and in special education. A big cut in Medicaid spending would mean, the survey report said, that many districts would have to furlough or lay off school personnel, that the percentage of uninsured children could go from 12 percent to an estimated 21 percent or higher, and critical benefits could be eliminated. (Strauss, 2/9)