A group of House Republican members including Reps. Rokita, Huelskamp, Broun, and Ohio’s Jim Jordan, head of the Republican Study Committee, introduced a comprehensive Medicaid reform measure this week. An excerpt from their press statement on the bill, titled the State Health Flexibility Act:
“The status quo in Medicaid is unfair to the poor and to our children. Waste and fraud run rampant. The poor are promised care but often struggle to find a doctor. And our children will be taxed to pay off the debt incurred for programs that do not work like they should. ObamaCare makes all of these problems even worse. The State Health Flexibility Act frees the states from Washington’s one-size-fits-all dictates so they can design programs around the needs of their own citizens, yet it does not cut a single penny from current funding. We must take this opportunity to make Medicaid more affordable, more accountable, and provide better care to the people who need it most.”
The members maintain that under the State Health Flexibility Act, each state will have a far greater opportunity for innovation and experimentation under an overall cap on funding:
- Federal funding for Medicaid and CHIP will be combined into a single block grant. States may spend their own funds at whatever level they choose.
- The states will have sole authority to determine eligibility, benefits, provider reimbursement rates, and to improve the quality of care and access to vital services.
- States may use up to 30% of their federal funding to support other welfare programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Food Stamps if the need is greater in those areas.
- Each state may use a portion of its block grant to establish a Rainy Day Fund to prepare for potential spikes in program enrollment that might arise from periods of high unemployment or other unforeseen circumstances.
- States will no longer be forced to wait months and sometimes years negotiating waiver-requests from HHS in order to implement their own reform ideas.