Medicaid block grants won't work, Scarborough says

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Many cash-starved states are pushing for a Medicaid block grant so they can change and reduce provider payments. But this option will be a political disaster, according to Joe Scarborough, co-host of “Morning Joe,” a daily news show on MSNBC.

“Block grants will scare people,” warned Scarborough during a general session address at the ALFA 2011 Conference & Expo in Orlando on Wednesday. He added that physicians and other providers need to participate in efforts to change the healthcare system.

He also predicted that civility would become more common in upcoming elections, despite recent upturns in negative campaign advertising.

“America is ready for civility,” he said. He blamed media outlets — particularly cable television programs — for airing content that reinforces partisan views while demonizing opponents. “The current Congress also needs to become more civil,” Scarborough added.

Scarborough is a former Republican congressman from Florida. His Morning Joe co-host is Mika Brzezinski, the daughter of a former high-ranking Democratic administration official.  The ALFA meeting continues through Thursday.

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