Action Alert: Additional Information regarding Medicaid Block Grants

By Jeannee Parker Martin posted 02-01-2017 00:46


As follow up to the Action Alert:  Tell Congress to Protect Medicaid Coverage for America’s Seniors that I sent our earlier today, I wanted to provide additional information regarding the importance of your calls and outreach this week.

We have participated in several discussions with LeadingAge national related to the impact of block grants, and in particular how this structural change might impact California.  I am also participating in discussions with fellow-CEOs of other major CA provider organizations (AMA, AHA, etc), and this has been a major topic of discussion.  While we do not know what the current Administration will decide, we do have some information about how block grants work, how they have been proposed under previous administrations, and how these will impact all states, including California.

The attached document includes a bit more detail regarding the types of block grants under consideration and some thought from both proponents and critics.  I have highlighted a few salient points that provide additional insight to my thoughts below.

  1. First, and importantly, LeadingAge national has indicated that under block grants, every state will lose money. California has even more at risk because the federal administration can dictate the lump-sum amount CA would get.  CA is now the largest recipient of Medicaid funds in the country due to the volume of Medicaid recipients in our state.  The amount we receive currently is a function of the number of users.  Block grants are intended to limit spending.  So, de facto, we are at risk to get a more limited amount of money.
  1. Under block grants, the state will decide how this money is distributed. Funding for care and services for seniors has not been a high priority for our CA administration, despite significant advocacy and influencing to the heighten awareness about the need for this growing older adult population.  We are likely to lose additional funding under a block grant scenario.
  1. Finally, LeadingAge national believes that a fundamental restructuring of Medicaid financing has serious detrimental effects on many older adults that our members provide services and support for, access to services we provide, and adequate reimbursement for those services.

For these and other compelling reasons, we believe block grants are not good for California, for our members, and for our vulnerable older adult population.  We are joined in this opinion not only by our national association and LA counterparts from other states, but also from all major provider organizations in California.

I hope you will join us by participating in this very important Action, and also invite all of your staff, residents and others to participate to let Congress know that a fundamental restructuring of Medicaid will have serious detrimental effects on care and services to many older adults.

Thank you for your advocacy,

Jeannee Parker Martin
President & CEO
LeadingAge California
Sacramento CA
(916) 392-5111