Connecticut Governor: Block Granting Medicaid Will Lead To ‘A Race To The Bottom’

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) criticized governors who call for block granting the Medicaid program during an event about extending sick pay at the Center for American Progress on Friday. Malloy described the reform — which House Republicans have included in their budget and several Republican presidential candidates have endorsed — as “nothing more than a race to the bottom”:

MALLOY: We have a bunch of politicians, including many many governors who are calling for block granting Medicaid, which is nothing more than a sponsored race to the bottom, particularly in states where there is less of a population that’s going to be supportive of maintaining the benefits. And in essence, what some of these governors are trying to do, is to create economic incentive to move jobs to their state by winning the race to the bottom when it comes to Medicaid reimbursement.

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The proposal would essentially convert the existing matching rate formula that the government uses to reimburse states into a block grant would give states less money than they would have otherwise received and force local governments to cut eligibility to the program. The federal government’s contribution “would be capped by a pre-set formula that does not adjust for variations in actual costs” influenced by economic recessions or unpredictable epidemics and as a result at risk populations may not be guaranteed access to needed benefits. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report estimated that an estimated 31 to 44 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage as a result of the change in funding.