January 29, 2020


Lawmakers call on Administration to abandon Medicaid block grant proposal

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) and Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) today led House Democrats in rejecting the Trump Administration’s reported plan to approve Medicaid block grant waivers. In anticipation of tomorrow’s announcement, the lawmakers wrote a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma outlining concerns with the legality and morality of any proposed Medicaid block grants.

“Limiting treatment options and denying access to prescription drugs will never lead to healthier outcomes for patients or better opportunities for working families,” said Congressman Kennedy. “If the Trump Administration chooses to unleash this dangerous plan tomorrow, it will only underscore the flagrant disregard they have for the health of the American people. Along with our colleagues, advocates, experts and patients, we will continue to make clear that any effort to steal Medicaid coverage from deserving Americans is not only immoral, it’s illegal.”

“States may be enticed by the ‘flexibility’ of block grant waivers, but in reality it just means less federal funding and less accountability for states to do their constitutional duties,” said Congressman Cooper. “They are threatening health care for millions of Americans who need it most. The Trump administration should stop experimenting on people and start extending health care to everyone.”

Along with 34 of their colleagues, Kennedy and Cooper wrote that “Guidance providing states a roadmap to obtain Medicaid block grant waivers not only defies Congress and the federal Medicaid statute but if implemented, will threaten health care for millions of individuals, hurting them when they are the most vulnerable. The Administration should not issue any guidance encouraging block grant waivers, should reject these waivers and the concept of block grants, and urge any state that is considering this misguided policy to commit its energy to implementing the Medicaid Act as Congress intends.”

To read their full letter, please click here.


For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2020

Dan Black (202) 225-5931