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11/20/2019

Medicaid Block Grant Guidance Announced, Withdrawn

Last week, Administrator Seema Verma of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the imminent release of highly-anticipated guidance allowing states to receive their federal share of Medicaid via block grants or per-capita caps. On the heels of the Thursday announcement, the guidance was withdrawn from the White House budget office on Friday, according to an article in POLITICO.  

Despite the guidance being withdrawn, a spokesperson for CMS said that Verma's comments from last week remained accurate. According to the announcement, Tennessee is first in line to transition to block grant funding, which will allow significant flexibility in administering the state programs. However, opponents of the shift note that the most recent attempt to pass a healthcare reform bill included a transition to block grants, and question whether the administration has the authority to unilaterally transform Medicaid financing. Critics see the measure as a way to shift the rising cost of healthcare to states, since healthcare costs tend to rise faster than inflationary updates. 

In the past, LeadingAge has been a strong voice in opposition to block-grant funding. LeadingAge Ohio, in partnership with LeadingAge, will continue to monitor the topic to ensure members are kept abreast of any developments.

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.