The U.S. Senate Could End Medicaid As We Know It

/, Health Care, Health Insurance Coverage, State & Federal Budget/The U.S. Senate Could End Medicaid As We Know It

CPPP Senior Policy Analyst Stacey Pogue co-wrote this post.

It is unclear when the U.S. Senate will vote on its Medicaid cut and repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA)CPPP will keep posting updates, and it’s important to keep urging Senators to oppose this scheme.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has released its detailed “score” for the BCRA. The CBO analysis confirms that the bill is in some critical ways even more damaging to health care than the U.S. House’s “American Health Care Act.”

Though the Senate bill’s authors claim they intend to improve U.S. health care, the bill is projected to result in millions more uninsured Americans.  Some 15 million more would be uninsured right away in 2018, building to 22 million more uninsured in 2026.  By 2026, the scheme would reduce U.S. Medicaid enrollment by 16 percent, leaving 15 million fewer Americans covered by Medicaid, including cuts to Medicaid in non-Medicaid-expansion states like Texas.

As we have noted, the big-picture problems in the Senate bill (BCRA) include:

  • Cut Texas Medicaid deeply—perhaps even more than the House bill. The bill includes deep cuts to the “traditional” Medicaid program that Texas has, not just the ACA Medicaid Expansion (and the cuts get much deeper in 2025).
  • Makes insurance less affordable, not more, for millions with private insurance by increasing premiums and deductibles, while hitting consumers age 40 and older hardest.
  • Uses the Medicaid and subsidy cuts to pay for tax cuts for big corporations and high-income households.
  • Offers zero help to lower premiums or deductibles for middle-income families getting little or no subsidy today. Nothing is done to help the majority of Texans who are covered through employment with their high costs (in fact, makes things worse for Texans asked to pay a high share on employer coverage).

This should be reason enough to call your Senators and tell them to oppose the Senate health care scheme. But read on to find out more.

Anne Dunkelberg oversees health care policy for CPPP. She focuses on policy and budget issues related to health care access and immigrants’ access to public benefits. She joined the Center in 1994 from the State Medicaid Director’s Office at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Anne is a founding member of the statewide Children’s Health Coverage Coalition (formerly the Texas CHIP Coalition) and the Cover Texas Now Coalition. She has been recognized by Families USA as an outstanding Consumer Health Advocate and by the LBJ School of Public Affairs Alumni Association as a Distinguished Public Servant. She was the primary author of the first edition of Texas Medicaid in Perspective (“the Pink Book”) and serves on the Texas Medicaid Managed Care Statewide advisory committee and the Texas Healthcare Transformation Waiver Executive Waiver Committee. Anne is a native Texan, and received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and her M.P.A. from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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