Recent proposals put forward in Congress would completely restructure Medicaid’s finances, eligibility, and availability. Two ways of restructuring the program have risen to prominence: block grants and per-capita caps. While the precise workings of these proposals differ, both are designed to reduce federal support to state Medicaid programs. Cutting federal dollars will inevitably lead to fewer people covered, fewer services available, and higher health care costs for low-income families—putting older adults, people with disabilities, and their families at risk.
“Block grants and per capita caps are nothing more than cuts to Medicaid, reducing the dollars flowing to the states, rationing access to needed care, and threatening job opportunities and growth. These proposals are not focused on improving the Medicaid program, but instead put reducing federal spending over families’ needs. Therefore, we urge you to reject these structural changes to this vital safety net program,” the letter cautions.
“Medicaid caps are a Medicare cut—pure and simple. Block grants and per-capita caps threaten access to vital programs that help low-income older adults and people with disabilities afford their Medicare costs,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. “With this help, people with Medicare can stretch already limited incomes to buy groceries, pay rent, heat their homes, and meet other basic needs. Capping Medicaid could quickly impoverish people with Medicare already struggling to make ends meet.”
“The destructive cuts to Medicaid that Congressional leaders plan will unfairly target older Americans who struggle to make ends meet,” said Kevin Prindiville, executive director of Justice in Aging. “They may be unable to visit their doctors, receive life-saving preventive care, or get the help they need to age at home and in their communities safely and in dignity.”
Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said, “Plans to cap Medicaid are driven by a desire to reduce federal support for low-income families and shift costs—not power—to states. Recent Medicaid proposals would hurt almost 1 in 5 families. States would get less Medicaid funding and, inevitably, provide less health coverage. Vulnerable children, people with disabilities, and older people will be disproportionately harmed. We hope thinking and caring leaders will oppose this regressive, national tragedy.”