All across America, many people rely on Medicaid for health care. To receive funding, the federal government disburses funds to state governments that then pass it on to those who need it. The federal government has been hinting at potential changes to this process for several years now.
In 2018, CNBC reported on potential rollbacks to hinder further Medicaid expansion. This was wrapped into the annual budget. Prior to allowances for expansion, states had the right to deny coverage to people who did not truly have low income or who did not have children. Since then, several states have made eligibility changes.
Medicaid block grants
This year, NPR reported that yet another change was coming to how the federal government funded state Medicaid programs. Adults under 65 who do not have disabilities might now face restrictions related to the Healthy Adult Opportunity program.
This program allows states to receive funding up to a specific limit. Participation is not mandatory, but states that choose to adopt the program could cause major shifts in Medicaid.
The way forward
Note that there is currently no cap on what the federal government distributes to states to serve lower-income, disabled and elderly adults. To encourage more states to use the capped approach, CMS has requested that more states redesign their systems to incorporate this new feature.
It is not clear how many states may choose to adopt this new program. Professionals in the industry believe Republican states may move first to adopt it, while Democratic states may not. Time will tell how this approach compares to expanding Obamacare.