Medicaid shift to block grants overlook patient needs

Recent whispers of a proposal to shift Medicaid funding from the current open-ended commitment to block grants is intriguing.

On the surface, it seems a good way to save the federal government more than $100 billion in the next five years according to several studies.

While Republicans argue that such funding change give states more control over programs to meet the needs of their citizens, Democrats counter that the beneficiaries of services might actually see decreases in services, while states would have to increase healthcare funding anyway.

The reality is that block grants put a lot of people at risk. They’re no better than Medicaid caps per capita in that both are disconnected from patient needs. Block grants are fixed funding for Medicaid per state while per capita cap funding gives fixed funding per beneficiary. But individuals aren’t objects: they’re people with varying levels and kinds of healthcare needs. And this is where block grants especially, fail rather badly.

Patient coverage should be consistent
Politics aside, what always makes me uneasy are healthcare solutions that focus more on money than quality of care.

Of course, we have to do what we can to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. But more times than not, patient needs are an afterthought in such discussions.

In our work with clients, we plan for their futures with an eye to what healthcare resources will be available to them when they need it. So any changes to how Medicaid is delivered should ensure a smooth transition for those who depend on its benefits.

If you want to talk about planning for the latter stages of your life, please be in touch.