Health care advocates are concerned the federal government may be slow to extend Medicaid eligibility to many states that have not expanded it.
The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday it would begin enrolling Medicaid beneficiaries in 2020.
The department also will begin paying some states a one-time payment to ensure they receive a rebate for enrollment in their Medicaid programs.
The move comes as many states have started to offer a reduced-rate option for Medicaid recipients who do not qualify for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
The changes to the federal Medicaid program could lead to a larger pool of Medicaid beneficiaries eligible for eligibility and help stabilize enrollment as the Trump administration moves to bring some states’ Medicaid programs under its expansion.
The federal government plans to pay about $3 billion over the next decade to states that expand Medicaid, and more than $10 billion over five years.
The Trump administration said the move will help keep premiums down for enrollees who are struggling to afford coverage and could bring down costs for states.
But health care advocates say the Medicaid changes could leave states without money to pay for the expansion of their Medicaid services.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that some states will have to cut Medicaid enrollment in the coming years, and some states may have to stop providing coverage entirely to enrollees and start offering the benefits to lower-income people.
Some states have already announced plans to stop paying Medicaid benefits to low-income adults.
The U.S. Senate health care committee on Monday approved legislation that would allow states to begin using a block grant program that would pay states for a portion of Medicaid enrollment.
The block grant will be funded by the federal Social Security Administration, and states will be allowed to use the money to cover the costs of expanding Medicaid.
“We should be able to continue expanding Medicaid, but if states cannot make the case to the states that they need it, they can no longer continue to do so,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who has led efforts to block federal funds from going to states with insufficient Medicaid enrollees.
“States that don’t expand will have no option to meet the needs of their low- and moderate-income residents.”
The House of Representatives has also passed legislation that allows states to use a block grants to fund Medicaid expansion.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he supports the bill, but said the bill must be adjusted to reflect changes in the Medicaid program.
In an interview with ABC News, Murray said that in her state, Medicaid enrollment was only 50% of what it should be, and that it’s the first time in decades that states have had to make that change.
Murray said states will not be able just to start sending out notices to Medicaid beneficiaries and sending out money to them, as they had done in the past.
‘It’s a good start’ Murray, along with Senate Democratic leader Patty Murray of Washington, said the Medicaid block grants should be used for a period of time to help stabilize the health care system.
Murray told ABC News that the federal funding will also allow states the ability to begin working with hospitals and other providers, which will allow them to take care of their most vulnerable residents.
States should not be left behind.
We should be in the driver’s seat, Murray told ABC News.
Murray said the Senate health committee bill is designed to ensure states do not suffer the same fate as the states in the states of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the Medicaid expansion has been a success for his state.
New York has been one of the top states in Medicaid expansion in recent years, with the state seeing an average reduction in uninsured individuals per 100,000 residents.
The plan will not only give states more flexibility to find and enroll their Medicaid beneficiaries, but it will also help stabilize and help ensure that every New Yorker has access to the health services they need, Cuomo said.
State health officials say the block grants are critical for states to enroll their more vulnerable residents and to provide the necessary services to lower the number of uninsured New Yorkers.
In a statement Monday, the Centers of Medicare and Health Services said the block grant funding will allow states and localities to implement a new Medicaid expansion plan that provides access to comprehensive, quality care for those who need it most.
Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Healthcare Act are two of the major pillars of the ACA, which was passed in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
The program covers an estimated 11 million Americans and offers low-cost, publicly subsidized coverage to nearly 40 million people.