Citing unsustainable growth in the cost of Medicaid to the State of Missouri, Senator David Sater (R-Cassville) is seeking a “global waiver” from the federal government on the healthcare program which provides coverage for the poor and disabled. A global waiver would allow the state flexibility in the way it delivers healthcare to this population, and would most likely result in block grants being provided by the federal government to Missouri to fund the program. Approximately three quarters of Medicaid expenditures pay for care to the elderly and the disabled.
Opponents of the effort to obtain block grants or a global waiver argued at a hearing this week that block grants have been tried in Vermont and Rhode Island unsuccessfully, and that the long-term results haven’t resulted in cost savings. They raised concerns about adequate funding for mental health, and care for those most in need.
Any change to the Medicaid program would have to be approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington (CMS). House Speaker Republican Paul Ryan has discussed block grants for Medicaid as part of his plan for healthcare reform going forward.