GOP claims past Dem support for Medicaid block grants

The NRCC memo cites a 1996 editorial from the Lincoln Journal Star about current Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D): “Both candidates [Nelson and his opponent] support sending welfare and Medicaid programs to the states to run.”

The memo also quotes current Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seven years ago describing a “war” between the states and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Basically, there is a war between the centers for Medicaid services and states around the country,” Sebelius told The Associated Press in 2004 as governor of Kansas. “Practices, policies, procedures that have been long recognized, long in place, never questioned, are coming under question on all fronts.”

The Congressional Budget Office in November said the Ryan plan to block-grant Medicaid would save $280 billion, but has the potential for much greater savings in the future.

The proposal, however, may be a non-starter for the Obama administration. CMS Administrator Don Berwick told The Hill earlier this month he opposes block grants for Medicaid.