Medicaid Block Grant Guidance Threatens the Health of Millions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2020 

CONTACT: Lucy Dagneau, 617-275-2876

(BOSTON, MA) – Statement of Emily Stewart, Community Catalyst executive director, in response to the Trump administration’s release of a State Medicaid Directors letter on block granting Medicaid. 

“Today’s announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) represents the latest existential threat to Medicaid from an administration that has consistently sought to undermine the program and its purpose of providing lifesaving health care to people with low incomes. After failing to cut Medicaid in 2017 through congressional action, the Trump administration has consistently tried to achieve the same results through administrative attacks. The guidance released today inviting states to block grant the program at the state level is just a continuation of those attacks. 

“This new policy is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to chip away at Medicaid’s foundation. It would put the health and economic security of families at risk, particularly families of color, who already face unfair and discriminatory barriers to care. Block grants are code for one thing – cuts to the Medicaid program, which will result in people losing coverage or critical benefits. With fewer dollars to provide care to millions of people, let alone address current and future public health issues, CMS is opening the floodgates to allow states to cut benefits and limit services, harming millions of people. 

“As usual, the Trump administration is attempting to cloak cuts to people's coverage and care in rhetoric about health and opportunity. Yet in reality, once again, the administration is issuing a policy that is quite clearly designed to do the opposite.  

“People want commonsense efforts to protect and expand access to care through Medicaid – not cut it. Hundreds of studies show that expanding Medicaid improves people’s lives, including lifting hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and improving health. It is critical that people from all over the country – in red states, blue states and every state in between – send a clear message that we reject this proposal that shifts the burden of illness onto states, providers and most importantly on to those who can least afford it.” 

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @HealthPolicyHub.

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