Paul Ryan’s Budget Gives Medicaid Block Grants to States

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) said that his new budget for Fiscal Year 2012 will give Medicaid funds to states in the form of block grants.

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In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Ryan said that the governors have said that they need more flexibility in dispersing the funds to their varied states’ populations.

“We propose block grants to the states.  We’ve had so much testimony from so many different governors saying, ‘Give us the freedom to customize our Medicaid programs, to tailor for our unique populations in our states.’  We want to give governors freedom to do that,” Paul said on Fox.

The Medicaid entitlement program’s cost is split 50/50 between states and the federal government.  President Obama’s new health care law includes provisions to drive more people onto the Medicaid health system.  The unfunded federal mandate in ObamaCare has resulted in an increased cost to already strained states budgets.  The nation’s governors, who have to work within their states’ balanced budget resolutions, have been looking for solutions to deal with the red ink flowing from ObamaCare.

In an interview with HUMAN EVENTS last week, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, said that he had told the congressional Republicans that he would take less federal money for Medicaid in exchange for more flexibility.

“If they would give us a block grant, we would be willing to limit the amount of our Medicaid payments from the federal government because, if we had total flexibility to run the program, we would save a lot of money,” Barbour said by phone.

Barbour said that currently his state budget has the cost of Medicaid under control.  Mississippi has the highest match rate for Medicaid, receiving about $3 from the federal government for every $1 spent.  Barbour, who is also the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said that his appeal to Congress for block grants seeks to save everyone money.

“My costs are pretty well under control right now.  But if I could have total flexibility to run Medicaid in Mississippi, then I am confident that for a five-year period, we could take one-half of the increase we would otherwise get—meaning one-half of the national increase—and come out better for the taxpayers and better for the beneficiaries,” Barbour told HUMAN EVENTS.  Barbour also told Congressional Republicans that said he would accept less federal money in exchange for more flexibility in Medicaid federal funds.

Read the rest of Emily Miller article at HUMAN EVENTS.

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