“What Medicaid Block Grants Would Mean For Seniors,” by Howard Gleckman, Forbes

“The various GOP proposals floating around Capitol Hill would cap that federal contribution at a fixed dollar amount. As costs rise, the states would be on the hook for the extra expense. They’d have to either cut benefits, cover fewer people, or raise taxes to finance the extra costs. …  To start, Medicaid LTSS benefits are already insufficient in most states. Payments to nursing homes are so low that many quality facilities are abandoning the long-term care business.  And Medicaid home care benefits rarely provide enough assistance for seniors or younger people with disabilities.”

LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform):
This author and column get some of the facts right, but reach the wrong conclusions because of their ideological bias.  Maybe we’ll analyze those facts and conclusions in more detail another time.  For now, understand that block grants do not necessarily reduce Medicaid payments to states.  But even if and when they do, states can use the extra freedom and flexibility that come with block grants to tackle Medicaid LTC’s biggest problem, which is, that the welfare program is the main LTC payer for all Americans, poor, rich and in between.  It does too much for too many and well for none.  That’s why Medicaid pays too little to ensure quality care in nursing homes or private homes.  Opposing block grants is tantamount to defending the dysfunctional status quo and surrendering to a dismal future as boomers age and entitlement programs implode. 

What Medicaid Block Grants Would Mean For Seniors