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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney’s Medicaid Block Grants Would Hurt Children

Romney Wanted To Block-Grant Medicaid

Romney And Ryan Would Block Grant Medicaid In An Effort To Cut Federal Spending. According to The Huffington Post, “About 30 million children, or one-third of America’s kids, get their health care from Medicaid, a program that serves the poor. Under plans to dramatically cut federal funding backed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), that number would have to shrink. Romney and Ryan both support transforming Medicaid from an entitlement with an open-ended budget and a guarantee of coverage into a ‘block grant’ program that would provide states a set amount of money to spend on health care services for the needy each year. But it’s not just about giving states more flexibility: It’s about slashing $810 billion in federal spending on a vital component of the safety net — without a plan for making up the difference.” [The Huffington Post, 8/22/12]

Romney Wanted To Convert Medicaid To A Block Grant Administered By The States. According to Forbes, Avik Roy wrote an op-ed noting that Romney’s economic plan “…spends a bit more time on Medicaid reform—by which I mean a lengthy paragraph—promising that, ‘as president, Romney will push for the conversion of Medicaid to a block grant administered by the states. This approach could save the federal government over $200 billion each year by the end of the decade, while also providing states with the flexibility to develop innovative and effective approaches best suited to their needs.’” [Forbes, 9/7/11]

 

Block Grants For Medicaid Would Cost 14 – 27 Million People, Half Of Them Children, Their Health Care

Romney’s Budget Plan To Block Grant Medicaid Would Force Between 14 Million And 27 Million People Off Medicaid By 2021. According to the Boston Globe, “Like House Republicans, Romney promises to transform Medicaid into block grants for states and shed federal supervision of it. He would cap the program’s annual growth to inflation plus a percentage point. His campaign says the approach would unshackle states to innovate and, by the end of a decade, cut costs by more than $200 billion a year. Advocates for the poor say the inevitable result will be that millions of people will be bounced from the program. An Urban Institute study last year estimated that Ryan’s cuts would force between 14 million and 27 million people off of Medicaid by 2021. Romney’s budget would make deeper cuts.” [Boston Globe, 4/22/12]

Children Made Up Half Of Medicaid’s Beneficiaries So Cuts Would Make Medicaid Unavailable To Some Children. According to The Huffington Post, “Children make up about half Medicaid’s 62 million beneficiaries. The rest is a mix of the parents of some of those kids, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Predicting the exact number of children who would be dropped from Medicaid under a block grant scheme isn’t possible, but taking away that much money means some would, said Robert Block, a pediatrician from Tulsa, Okla., who is president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. ‘The simple math is: You subtract that from the total Medicaid available and there’s a lot less for kids,’ Block said.” [The Huffington Post, 8/22/12]

Romney And Ryan’s Medicaid Plan Block Granting Funds Would Let States “Pick And Choose” What Would Be Covered. According to Mother Jones, “Medicaid, which provides an even bigger chunk of funding for family planning centers than Title X, would also take a serious hit under Romney and Ryan—at least if Ryan’s budget proposal is any indication. Ryan’s plan suggests slashing Medicaid by $810 billion over the next decade. States would then receive fixed federal grants and would get to pick and choose who and what they would cover.” [Mother Jones, 8/17/12]

Boston Globe: Romney’s Plan To Block Grant Medicaid To The States Could “Dramatically Undercut” His Signature Massachusetts Health Care Law. According to the Boston Globe, “A proposal by Mitt Romney to curtail Medicaid spending would dramatically undercut the way the Massachusetts health care overhaul law has achieved near universal coverage. Although the specifics of Romney’s plan are not public, his overall intent – to rein in how much Medicaid money Washington sends to the states – would probably cripple the Massachusetts health care law, which was made possible by an expansion of Medicaid funding. If Romney succeeds, the result could have an ironic twist: the governor who ushered in the country’s first universal health plan would, as president, put in place policies that could undermine one of his signature achievements.” [Boston Globe, 05/04/12]