News Release

How Does Medicaid Work and What’s at Stake Under a Block Grant or Per Capita Cap?: A Video Slideshow

A new video slideshow from the Kaiser Family Foundation explains how Medicaid works now and what is at stake as policymakers in Washington consider converting program financing to a block grant or per capita cap.

The 3-minute video describes how Medicaid is financed under current law, whom it covers and how spending is distributed across various groups of enrollees, including children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities. It shows, for instance, that although seniors and people with disabilities comprise about a quarter of Medicaid enrollees, they account for nearly two-thirds of Medicaid spending because they have more complex health needs and therefore higher per person costs.

Proposals to convert Medicaid to a block grant or per capita cap financing could reduce federal Medicaid spending over time and be tied to increased flexibility for states in how they run their Medicaid programs. However, the video slideshow also explains how such proposals may shift costs to states, beneficiaries and providers, as well as limit states’ ability to respond to changes in medical costs and/or demand for Medicaid.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.