Some policymakers have pushed Medicaid block grants as a way to reform and improve the federal-state program. An ongoing pandemic, however, reveals how such an approach could be harmful to states and those served, according to a report by the left-leaning Urban Institute.

Block grants “have the significant problem of placing states at risk for the increased costs from recession related increases in enrollment as well as spikes in spending from unforeseen events such as the coronavirus outbreak,” the report notes.

Although it’s understandable that states would want more flexibility, such flexibility “could lead to harmful cuts,” the report adds. 

President Trump’s administration supports Medicaid block grants. Some Republican governors have also lauded this approach, as it gives states more discretion in services and more knowable costs. But many operators remain opposed.

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