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Pallone on Trump Administration’s Illegal Attempt to Block Grant Medicaid

Jan 30, 2020
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statement today on the Trump Administration’s proposal to allow states to block grant their Medicaid programs:

“President Trump is once again breaking the law and a promise he made to the American people.  This illegal Medicaid block grant proposal could have devastating consequences on the health of millions of Americans, including those affected by the opioid epidemic.  Block grants limit the amount of federal dollars states receive, resulting in states cutting benefits, cutting payments to doctors and tightening eligibility standards.  At the end of the day, this proposal will lead to lower quality of care for fewer people.

“Despite promising to not cut Medicaid as a candidate, Trump’s proposal would do just that.  A block grant is nothing more than a bureaucratic backdoor to take people’s health care away with little transparency or accountability.

“This guidance blatantly violates the Medicaid statute and defies clear congressional intent.  Congress and the American people have repeatedly rejected Republican efforts to cut Medicaid funding through block grants, but the Trump Administration is once again attempting an illegal end run around Congress. 

“I hope that states will put the health and wellbeing of their citizens ahead of political ideology and reject this harmful and illegal proposal.”

Earlier this month, Pallone and Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG)

requesting assistance in conducting oversight of pending attempts to block grant states’ Medicaid programs.  Last year, Pallone wrote to HHS Secretary Azar to remind him that the Department does not have the legal authority to implement a block grant or per capita cap on the Medicaid program.