A Republican proposal to convert Medicaid into a block-grant system would reduce funding for the program by as much as $1.26 trillion over nine years, according to a Bloomberg Government study released Tuesday, Bloomberg reports.
Republican Support for Medicaid Block-Grant Systems
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has endorsed Medicaid block-grant proposals (Wayne, Bloomberg, 9/11).
Such a proposal is included in the House GOP-approved fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, which was developed by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Romney's running mate.
Under the proposal, states would receive a lump sum, which would increase at the rate of inflation, and be responsible for establishing eligibility and benefit requirements (California Healthline, 8/13).
The Ryan-Romney Medicaid proposal could take effect as soon as 2014, but Romney has said the changes would not affect beneficiaries until 2022.
According to the Bloomberg Government study, the federal government's payments under the proposal would grow at one percentage point above inflation annually, which would create the funding reduction. In exchange, states would be subject to fewer rules on how they can use the funds, Bloomberg reports.
Christopher Flavelle, a Bloomberg Government analyst and the study's author, said enactment of the block-grant proposal could lead to lobbying fights in state capitols between physicians, hospitals, home health agencies and nursing homes vying for the smaller pool of Medicaid funding.
Home health agencies and nursing homes would experience the biggest reductions in Medicaid funding as a proportion of their revenue if the proposal is enacted and the cuts are distributed according to the program's current framework, Flavelle noted.
According to Bloomberg, the Romney campaign cooperated with Flavelle on the study by giving him access to an unidentified campaign adviser who provided insight into Romney's health care proposals.
However, Jonathan Burks -- deputy policy director for the Romney campaign -- said the new study "incorrectly describes major elements of [Romney's] reform plan and ignores the ongoing failures of ObamaCare." Burks did not identify the errors, Bloomberg reports (Bloomberg, 9/11).
Voters Favor Obama and Democrats on Health Care, Medicare, Polls Find
When voters were asked which presidential candidate would do a better job handling health care issues, Obama holds a nine percentage point advantage over Romney, according to the latest CNN/ORC survey, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
According to the poll, 54% of respondents said Obama would be a better steward of health care issues, compared with 45% who felt the same about Romney.
The poll, which was conducted after last week's DNC, indicates that Obama got an eight-percentage point bounce on the specific question. A similar poll released before the convention showed that Obama lead Romney on the health care question by just one percentage point, 49% to 48% (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/11).
Meanwhile, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll found that while more than two-thirds of respondents agree with Republicans that Medicare's funds are being depleted, 67% of all the respondents say it should "continue as it is today," National Journal reports.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they favor changing the program into the voucher-based system that Romney and Ryan proposed.
Meanwhile, 54% of all respondents said they trust Obama and Democrats more to oversee the program's financial health, compared with 31% who trust Romney and the GOP more to the job.
An even higher percentage of younger respondents said they trust the Democrats with Medicare, while respondents age 65 and older were evenly split at 43% on which party they trusted more with Medicare (Goldmacher, National Journal, 9/11).