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Colorado Senate Bill 12-032: Medicaid block grants, vouchers, & premiums

Here’s the official summary of Colorado Senate Bill 12-032, introduced by Senator Greg Brophy:

The bill requires the department of health care policy and
financing (state department) to seek a federal waiver to allow for increased flexibility and efficiency in the management of the medicaid program and the children’s basic health plan.

The waiver will seek authorization to determine eligibility
categories and income levels and to establish an asset test for eligibility, implement cost-sharing and premiums, encourage the use of private health benefits coverage, and encourage persons to maintain employer-sponsored health insurance. As part of the waiver, the state department may negotiate for capped federal reimbursements with provisions for adjustments in the federal reimbursements for population growth and inflation.

The state department shall report to the general assembly
concerning the waiver request and identify necessary changes to state law to implement the reforms requested in the waiver.

My take:

Cost-sharing and premiums:  I assume this means increasing them. This is a good idea, as I discussed in this article at Health Policy Solutions: Colorado Child Health Plan: Parents should value children’s health more than sweets and booze.

Encouraging this use of (nominally) private health plans: The bill text says: “Encourage the use of the private health benefits coverage market rather than public benefits systems.” This is also a good idea. Medicaid is a dreadful program in terms of access to care, fraud, and cost to taxpayers.  See also “Medicaid’s Unseen Costs” by Michael Cannon.

If the political left approves of food stamps (food vouchers for private grocery stores) rather than government-run grocery stores for the poor, then why not the same for health plans?

Florida has tried this, and according to the Heritage Foundation it has been successful. (I need to read up on this myself.)

Capping federal funding: Matching funds from the Feds is a disaster. It encourages waste and rewards Colorado bureaucrats for spending taxpayers’ money. For more, read my posts about Medicaid Block Grants. Or watch the video above for a summary.

Thanks to Colorado Senate News for informing me about this bill.

Tim Hoover of the Denver Post comments here: Republican senator files bill to force state to seek Medicaid waiver.