Current Outlook for Medicaid Programs in Schools

San Francisco, CA – April 25, 2012 – Paradigm releases a follow-up statement to its clients regarding the proposed federal budget and its impact on school-based Medicaid programs. This issue was first discussed at Paradigm’s annual Coordinator Conferences earlier this year.

As is common during presidential election years, political waters are heated, and we often hear a lot about the plans and proposals to change the federal Medicaid program. Old issues often become new again, and Paradigm wants to reaffirm that it is regularly tracking and analyzing federal issues as they relate to school-based Medicaid programs.

One such issue is the proposed federal budget that is currently moving through the U.S. Congress. As a largely symbolic response to President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, House Republicans drafted and passed their own budget proposal last month. If implemented, it would turn Medicaid into a block-grant program. (See Paradigm’s original news post here for an analysis of the House budget.) The notion of block-granting Medicaid is not new, and the House budget proposal currently poses no direct threat to school-based Medicaid reimbursement programs. First, the House budget in its current form has nearly a zero chance of being passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate. As the Wall Street Journal recently put it, “The plan almost certainly won’t become law, given opposition by President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, but both parties say it will help frame the [upcoming presidential] campaign . . . ” Second, establishing block grants is a Medicaid reform proposal frequently advanced by the conservative side of the aisle. Although turning Medicaid into a block-grant program would potentially pose a threat to all Medicaid programs, this change would not categorically end such programs but rather would put them at risk of being limited by individual states.

School-based Medicaid programs have been and always will be regarded as more vulnerable under a conservative administration. This situation is a reality that cannot be ignored. Yet it is equally important to remember that we are still working under a supportive leadership in both the White House and the Senate. School-based Medicaid programs have been going strong for more than two decades, surviving both Democrat- and Republican-dominated sessions of Congress.

Paradigm’s Public Policy and Research Division is specifically designed to ensure that Paradigm’s clients have up-to-date and accurate information available at all times. We will continue to track the federal budget on our industry news blog, and we will take additional measures to contact our clients directly if a situation arises that might have an immediate or direct impact on their programs.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email or by calling (888) 536-0920.