Medicaid: the Missing Key to Paul Ryan’s Antipoverty Plan

Including Medicaid and CHIP in Opportunity Grants Boosts Likelihood of Success: NCPA

Source: NCPA

Bundling Medicaid alongside other safety-net funding into Representative Paul Ryan’s proposed Opportunity Grants would improve outcomes for both dependents and taxpayers, according to a new report by National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow John R. Graham.  

“Ryan’s Expanding Opportunity in America would consolidate a confusing patchwork of federal antipoverty programs, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, housing and home-energy assistance, education assistance, and food stamps,” says Graham.

Ryan’s Opportunity Grants distribute federal spending for households in poverty as a lump sum to local agencies. Including Medicaid funding in these grants would help recipients moving out of dependency and into self-reliance.

According to the report, including Medicaid could bring great improvements: 

  • Federal spending on Medicaid-amounted to $274 billion in 2013 – two thirds as much as the total spent on other federal antipoverty programs combined.
  • Medicaid was left out of the successful 1996 welfare reform, so it imposes extremely high, effective marginal tax rates, trapping dependents in poverty.
  • Bundling Medicaid into the Opportunity Grant program gives states and local authorities the flexibility to account for the social determinants of health.

“People’s health status is intimately connected to their housing, education, and other community factors. Allowing local civic agencies to apply for a bundle of funding that includes Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), would greatly increase the likelihood of success for both beneficiaries and taxpayers,” says Graham.

Include Medicaid with Other Safety-Net Program Reforms: