On Tuesday, Congressman Tom Price, the HHS-Designate went before the Senate Finance Committee for his second confirmation hearing and during a question and answer period criticized SSBG. During the hearing Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was attempting to get a response on whether he would support a block grant of Medicaid (which she was not able to do) but then turned to another block grant that has been targeted for elimination, SSBG.
Senator McCaskill highlighted the importance of SSBG in her state of Missouri pointing out that SSBG, was an original Ronald Reagan block grant, and in her state it is used for residential services for detox of heroin addicts, for Adult Day Care services, Adoption Services and Case Management to prevent more restrictive placements. She then asked him about his past votes to eliminate SSBG, Price said,
“[there is] likely a better way to provide those services in a much more efficient, effective, and economical way for the individuals receiving the care. And I would also respectively point out to you that another state flexible model that is held up by many is the TANF program that has been extremely successful…”
Of course, many advocates have been using the constant attacks and cuts for SSBG as a prime example of why Washington should not convert other entitlements (including Medicaid, SNAP and Title IV-E Foster Care-Adoption Assistance) into block grants no matter how much flexibility such block grants might provide.