What We're Reading: CMS Eyes Block Grants; Judge Blocks Contraception Rule; State Healthcare Experiments

January 14, 2019

The Trump administration is looking to bypass Congress to give block grants to states for Medicaid; US District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule on contraception, which would have allowed virtually any employer to refuse to cover workers' birth control by citing religious or moral objections; Democratic governors propose new ways to expand healthcare.

CMS Trying to Revive Conservative Idea of Medicaid Block Grants

The Trump administration is looking to bypass Congress to give block grants to states for Medicaid, Politico reported. Citing CMS sources, the report said Administrator Seema Verma has has been trying to insert block grant language into federal guidance for months but has received scrutiny from agency lawyers. If the effort is successful, it would represent a conservative victory to cap spending on healthcare for the poor.

US Judge Rules for States Seeking to Stop Trump Administration Birth Control Rules

US District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule on contraception, which would have allowed virtually any employer to refuse to cover workers' birth control by citing religious or moral objections. The ruling was set to start Monday. The decision applies to just the 13 states plus the District of Columbia involved in a lawsuit, The New York Times reported. The judge wrote that the revised rules put forth by the administration are almost identical to ones he blocked last year.

States Are Seeing New Healthcare Proposals From Democratic Governors

Democratic governors are proposing new ways to expand healthcare, The Hill reported. Washington Governor Jay Inslee is proposing a “public option”—a government-run plan that will compete with private insurers—and California Governor Gavin Newsom is asking the Trump administration to allow the state to create a single-payer system. The progressive ideas could go national if their party wins the Senate or White House in 2020, but for now, the state level is the only place for Democrats to experiment with new healthcare proposals.