seniors socializing

Federal officials again are trying to reassure critics that its new block grant program will not affect vulnerable groups, including people who live in nursing homes. 

The Department of Health and Human Services won’t approve any state waivers for its Healthy Adult Opportunity program that will negatively impact people with disabilities, as well as pregnant women, low-income adults and children, Secretary Alex Azar affirmed Wednesday during a House Energy & Commerce Health subcommittee hearing, according to an Inside Health Policy report

The program, which was unveiled in late January, allows participating states to receive block grant funding for a specific population enrolled in Medicaid — adults under the age of 65 who aren’t eligible for Medicaid on the basis of disability or who aren’t eligible under a state plan.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma recently stressed the block grant program won’t lead to cuts in Medicaid — which has been a concern for long-term care providers

“Low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people eligible on the basis of disability will not be directly affected — except from the improvements that result from states reinvesting savings to improve Medicaid for everyone,” Verma said when the program was first announced.