Washington, DC—Ted L. Anderson, MD, PhD, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), issued the following statement regarding the Administration’s letter to state Medicaid directors that encourages states to transition their Medicaid programs to a “block grant” funding mechanism:
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) opposes the Administration’s attempt to encourage states to block grant Medicaid funding for certain populations. Block grants are fixed amounts of money given to the states from the federal government instead of funding based on the needs of each the state. This alternative financing mechanism would permit the federal government to cap its investment in Medicaid, reducing federal funding for the country’s most vulnerable, low-income individuals.
“As the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women, ACOG is concerned by the limitations of capped federal financing in Medicaid. Medicaid was created to help pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations access vital health care coverage. Limits on the federal contribution to the Medicaid program would negatively impact patients by forcing states to reduce the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid coverage, eliminate covered services, and increase beneficiary cost-sharing. ACOG is also concerned that this block grant opportunity could lower physician reimbursement for certain services, forcing providers out of the program and jeopardizing patients’ ability to access health care services. Given our nation’s stark rates of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, we are alarmed by the Administration’s willingness to weaken physician payment in Medicaid.
“Medicaid is a women’s health success story. This invitation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to states to transform their Medicaid programs into block grants or other capped funding arrangements threatens millions of Americans with loss of coverage and will lead to adverse health outcomes for women and families. ACOG urges CMS to reconsider its willingness to approve state waiver requests that would alter the long-standing funding structure of our nation’s health care safety net.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of 60,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org