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Wyden Condemns Trump Plan to Gut Medicaid

January 30,2020

Guidance Issued by CMS Administrator Verma Would Weaken Structure of Medicaid, Threaten Access to Care

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued a statement after the Trump administration, led by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, announced new guidance for the Medicaid program that would hand states a playbook to implement block grants. This fixed amount will allow states to make cuts to their Medicaid programs that reduce benefits and limit access.

“Today’s announcement is the cruelest step yet by the Trump administration to slash American health care and dismantle basic safety net programs like Medicaid,” Wyden said. “When Republicans attempted to block grant Medicaid in Congress, they failed due to an outcry from families across the country over the consequences for children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and the millions of working families who rely on the program for essential health coverage. Now the Trump administration is pushing states to use a backdoor scheme to slash benefits and limit access to lifesaving health coverage in Medicaid through arbitrary block grants. This approach is a gross distortion of the Medicaid program and in defiance of congressional intent and the will of the American people, who simply want hassle-free, affordable health care for their families.

“Finally, the name ‘Healthy Adult Opportunity’ should be highlighted as a triumph of Orwellian branding. The only outcome of this program will be less health care for Americans who need it.”  

Wyden has long stood against attempts to undermine the Medicaid program through schemes like block grants or per-capita caps. In 2017 he led the fight against Republican attempts to gut Medicaid by rolling back the Medicaid expansion and capping and block granting the program. These draconian measures would have resulted in tens of millions of Americans losing access to essential health care. Recently, Wyden has criticized preliminary efforts by the Trump administration and Republican-led states to create block grants which would harm vulnerable Americans.

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