Governor Tom Wolf: Medicaid Block Grant Effort Could Cut Health Coverage for Children, Seniors, and Addiction Treatment

January 23, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today said the federal government should not pursue a block grant program that would cut funding for Medicaid coverage for many hard-working Pennsylvanians and their families, including seniors getting nursing and home care, people with disabilities, children and those being treated for substance use disorder.

“The current plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would cut health care for our most vulnerable residents, including children, seniors, and individuals suffering from opioid and heroin addiction,” Governor Wolf said. “This will have a devastating impact for many Pennsylvanians, and I will fight any attempt to cut coverage for hard-working families and seniors.”

Shifting Medicaid to a block-grant program has emerged as part of a still unknown plan to follow the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A plan introduced in 2012 by the current Speaker of the House to block-grant Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would lead to funding reductions of approximately one trillion dollars in just a decade, and impact services that could result in:

  • Seniors and children losing their health insurance;
  • Some of our most vulnerable Medicaid enrollees losing access to drug and alcohol treatment, which is essential in battling the opioid and heroin public health crisis that took over 3,500 lives in Pennsylvania in 2015;
  • Nursing home care for Pennsylvania seniors put at risk;
  • Closures of rural hospitals and put rural health care in danger.

Governor Wolf has already contacted U.S. congressional leadership and Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, warning of the impact on these populations and communities from a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Pennsylvanians are encouraged to share their Medicaid stories with the Department of Human Services here.

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