Medicaid Healthy Adult Opportunity Grants Raise Several Questions

On January 30, 2020, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its “Healthy Adult Opportunity” (HAO) initiative. CMS maintains that the initiative will provide states with more flexibility to improve the health of their Medicaid population while simultaneously advancing many priorities CMS has been pursuing. Many are characterizing the initiative as a “block grant” approach to Medicaid, an approach that has generated an on-going and very heated debate between supporters and opponents.

What is clear is that the HAO initiative provides a potential new policy lever for states seeking to better address health goals and/or contain Medicaid spending. It also raises several key questions that states and other stakeholders should consider in the decision-making process regarding how to approach this new CMS opportunity.