Medicaid block grants to the state one idea Congress is considering, Guthrie says

03/01/2011 07:28 AM

One potential budget reform to the Medicaid program that covers health care for the poor and disabled would be to have the federal government send states money in the form of block grants, said U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie.

Guthrie, a Republican from Bowling Green, said on Pure Politics Monday that the block grants is one idea gaining steam even among some governors. He said at least two governors, whom he declined to name, told him they would prefer budget flexibility to more federal dollars.

“I’ve had one say I’ll take zero increase in Medicaid over the next five years,” said Guthrie, who declined to name the governor. “Another said, if you just give me 2% but give me complete flexibility on how to administer my program – don’t give me 70 cents on the dollar and tell me how to spend my 30 cents on the dollar.”

Guthrie is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Guthrie said the subcommittee he works with will begin holding hearings on potential Medicaid reforms this week.

The Medicaid system is a federal-state partnership in which the U.S. government requires certain levels of health coverage. State governments then administer the programs. The federal government provides matching funds that work out to be about 70% of the program’s total cost, compared to 30% the states put in.

In Kentucky, Medicaid is a $6 billion program that serves more than 800,000 poor and disabled people.

- Ryan Alessi


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