Medicaid Per Capita Caps: A Terrible Twist on a Bad Idea
By Bruce Lesley
For 35 years now, Medicaid has had to fend off repeated efforts to slash its funding by converting it into a block grant. This year is no exception, as both the House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed transforming Medicaid into a block grant.
By definition, a block grant structure is a capped amount of federal dollars that the federal government arbitrary sets in order to achieve budget savings and gives to states, regardless of their increasing or declining needs.
It is akin to a business deciding today what it will spend on health care for its many different office locations a decade from now, regardless of: the numerous changes in how many people each and every office actually employs; changes in the benefits the company offers; whether or not an epidemic has hit the nation or a certain region; or, whether there has been changes in the costs of health care during the decade.