Blog Posts > Medicaid Block Grants are Just Cuts By Another Name
October 4, 2019

Medicaid Block Grants are Just Cuts By Another Name

Earlier this year, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma and the Trump Administration began encouraging states to apply for “block grant” waivers for their Medicaid programs. These waivers would allow states to bypass federal standards and beneficiary protections in exchange for agreeing to caps on the federal Medicaid funding they receive. While we can see what’s in it for the federal government (less federal dollars spent in states over time, less oversight to do), block grants would pose devastating threats to Medicaid beneficiaries and states’ economies. Nonetheless, Tennessee unveiled its first-in-the-nation block grant Medicaid waiver proposal in September which, if approved, would give the state strong financial incentives to cut benefits and reduce their Medicaid rolls.

The uncapped federal funding that comes with Medicaid is key to helping West Virginia respond in times where need grows, like during recessions, natural disasters, and public health emergencies.

Read more in Kelly’s blog post.

Women of Color Especially Benefit From Working Family Tax Credits

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit push back against racial income disparities, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released last month. These tax credits are especially important to women of color, but the tax credits can and should do more to boost these families’ incomes and longer-term prospects.

In 2019, the federal EITC boosted the incomes of 9 million women of color, who disproportionately benefit from the tax credit. That’s largely because people of color are far likelier than white people to work in low-paid occupations, work part-time or part-year instead of full-time and year-round, and have lower wages within a given occupation, trends that reflect both the legacy of severe discrimination and continued structural barriers to opportunity.

Meet An Advisory Committee Member!

Lida Shepherd is with the West Virginia Economic Justice Project, a program of the American Friends Service Committee where she works statewide on issues affecting low income and working people. Her work focuses on popular education trainings, policy advocacy, and building coalitions in support of racial and economic justice. Lida also serves on the boards of the American Civil Liberties Union-WV and the WV Community Development HUB. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and lives with her family in Charleston.

For more information about joining our advisory committee, email

Great Conferences Next Week!

Food for All Conference
Join us October 10 in Summersville, WV for the 2nd annual Food for All conference. This has been a landmark year addressing food insecurity in West Virginia and we are excited to reflect and plan for the year to come.

Register here.


27th Annual West Virginia Rural Health Conference
County Roads: Moving WV Rural Health Forward

The West Virginia Rural Health Association will hold its annual conference October 8-11,2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Huntington. The West Virginia Rural Health Conference provides attendees with education and information about innovation, best practices and leadership in rural health. The conference includes state and national rural health updates along with providing attendees the opportunity to network with others interested in improving rural health care in West Virginia.

WVCBP Director of Policy Engagement, Kelly Allen, will present on Wednesday, October 9. The title of her discussion is: How Would Medicaid Work Reporting Requirements Impact Rural West Virginia?

For more information, contact Debrin Jenkins, WVRHA Executive Director, at 304-890-7017 or email her here.

October 7: WV Statewide Census Coalition Launches Awareness Campaign

The CountMeInWV Coalition, currently 25+ organizations and growing, is hosting a press event to officially launch its outreach, education and awareness campaign at 11:00AM on Monday, October 7 at Covenant House in Charleston.

The CountMeInWV Coalition was formed to reach West Virginia’s hardest-to-count populations: rural, seniors, communities of color, college students and families with children under five years old. Data from the US Census determines the allocation of over $6 billion of federal investment in West Virginia every year, and getting a complete and accurate count of the population is vital to ensure these funds go to those who need them.

Public invited to attend!

Save the Date: 2020 Budget Breakfast

Mark your calendar for January 15, 2020 for our 7th annual Budget Breakfast as we kick off the 2020 Legislative Session. More details soon!

Save the Date: Compassion Calls Us Day at the Capitol, February 12

More information here.

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