ACA repeal, Medicaid block grants face hot discussion

Price has indicated that House lawmakers would lead any ACA replacement efforts.
Price has indicated that House lawmakers would lead any ACA replacement efforts.

Congressional Republicans met in mid-February to try to discern new details of replacement provisions for the Affordable Care Act, but various questions including about the future of Medicaid, remained unanswered at press time.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who was confirmed Feb. 3, met with leaders to provide details on the goals of an ACA replacement, which is likely to include health savings accounts and tax credits.

Medicaid remained a thorny issue between strongly conservative members who want to roll back federal spending and switch to block grants for states, and members whose states are benefiting from the ACA's expansion of Medicaid, the primary payer of long-term care services.

At stake for nursing homes is whether states that participated in Medicaid expansion during the Obama administration would eventually lose federal funding under a block grant program, and whether states would be empowered to trim reimbursements.

President Donald Trump sent mixed messages about his own goals. At one point Trump said that he had a healthcare plan that would be submitted to Congress in March, but Price himself indicated that the House would lead any replacement charge.