By Fred Lucas
President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, to be rolled out Tuesday, likely will include Medicaid reform. But with several approaches having been floated, definitive answers will have to wait until the White House releases the fiscal plan.
During his Senate confirmation hearings in January, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said he would look at changes to Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor.
Medicaid covers about 70 million low-income Americans. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia expanded eligibility for Medicaid under Obamacare.
When serving as House Budget Committee chairman as a congressman from Georgia, Price advocated giving Medicaid funds to states in block grants as a way of providing more flexibility.
“Block grants would save the federal government money, but would shift that cost to the states,” Marc Goldwein, senior vice president for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan research group in Washington, told The Daily Signal. “When a state has more skin in the game, will it be more cost-effective? Yes. But perhaps not enough to deal with the new expense.”
Another solution, Goldwein said, is to cap “provider taxes,” which states impose on health care providers. He said states use the tax to get more money from the federal government without losing revenue. The federal government prevents states from taxing health providers more than 6 percent.
He said most states make deals with hospitals to increase Medicaid payments in exchange for taxing the hospital by the same amount, then go to the federal government presenting a need for a larger subsidy based on the larger payment from the state to the hospitals.
“If you phased [the state provider taxes on hospitals] out to 0 percent, it would save $100 billion” on Medicaid, Goldwein said. “If you cut to 5.5 percent, it would …read more
From:: Daily Signal – Feed