The Trump administration released the Healthy Adult Opportunity last week, providing a historic level of flexibility for states to design a Medicaid program tailored to the unique needs of their adult beneficiaries, while holding states accountable for improving quality and ensuring access.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t taken long — even by Washington’s standards — for talking points with a dubious relationship to reality to start circulating among defenders of the status quo.
Shortly after the initiative’s release, Vice President Pence encountered an activist doctor at an Iowa diner who confidently claimed the administration had announced “cuts” to the Medicaid program. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the vice president rightly pointed out — no doubt remembering the 18 laborious months he spent navigating the labyrinthine federal waiver process as Indiana governor — states deserve the flexibility they need to deliver better care. That’s what HAO will deliver.
Let me be clear: Fearmongering notwithstanding, HAO does not cut Medicaid funding. This optional demonstration continues federal funding to states based on their historical spending with a reasonable growth rate.