Republicans Say Preservation, Democrats Say Cut. The Fight Over Describing Medicaid’s Future
Republicans object to calling the reductions in federal funding envisioned in their health plans a cut, but is it? News outlets examine the depth of the disagreement about Medicaid between the parties and its central role in the current debate.
The New York Times:
Health Bill Does Not ‘Cut’ Medicaid Spending, Republicans Argue
Republicans, under fire for proposing health care legislation that would reduce Medicaid funding by hundreds of billions of dollars, have embraced an old argument that taking money from a program is not a “cut.” At first glance, the new pitch to make their strategy more palatable seems at odds with the numbers. The Congressional Budget Office said on Monday that the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” would reduce Medicaid spending by $772 billion over a decade. By 2026, Medicaid enrollment would drop by 16 percent among people under the age of 65. So, are there cuts or not? (Rappeport, 6/27)
Medicaid Remains Sticking Point In Senate ACA Repeal Bill
One of the sticking points among Republicans is how to rework the Medicaid program, which some states expanded under the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers in those states are wary of rescinding the benefits to their constituents and facing a tougher road to re-election. Barrasso said covering childless adults gets away from Medicaid's original purpose and that states need the flexibility to design their own programs. (Lee, 6/27)
Emboldened Industry Lobbyists Try To Scale Back Medicaid Cuts
Hospitals, doctors and nursing homes have one last chance to shape a Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare they say will hurt millions of old, poor and sick Americans — and their own bottom lines. After being on the sidelines for much of the repeal debate, the groups see an opening in the meltdown of the Senate health care bill. They’re particularly worried about the legislation’s proposed deep cuts to Medicaid, the country’s largest insurance program, which covers 74 million people. (Cancryn and Demko, 6/27)
Senate GOP Health Bill Would Slash Medicaid. Here's How.
Republicans have wanted to repeal Obamacare for years -- but they've wanted to overhaul Medicaid for far longer. They are now getting their chance. The health care legislation working its way through Congress would do much more than its stated purpose of repealing and replacing Obamacare. It would make the most far-reaching changes and deepest cuts to Medicaid in the program's 52-year history. (Luhby, 6/26)
CQ Roll Call:
Experts: Senate Bill's Mental Health Change Offers Little Help
A provision in the Senate Republican health care bill that would expand Medicaid coverage of mental health treatment services would be undermined by broader Medicaid changes, experts say. Currently, Medicaid cannot reimburse for inpatient mental health or substance use treatment in facilities with more than 16 beds. The Senate draft bill would give states the option to cover some inpatient services at larger psychiatric hospitals for up to 30 days in a month and 90 days in a calendar year. The federal government would pick up 50 percent of the costs. (Siddons, 6/27)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Medicaid Expansion Freeze Remains In Ohio Budget Ahead Of Final Votes
The Ohio House and Senate plan to vote Wednesday on a budget bill that would freeze Medicaid expansion enrollment next year, a move Gov. John Kasich's administration says would result in 500,000 low-income Ohioans losing health insurance coverage. More than 725,000 Ohioans have received coverage through Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance program for poor and disabled Americans, since the state expanded eligibility in 2014 to those making up to 138 percent of the poverty level. (Borchardt, 6/27)
USA Today/Cincinnati Enquirer:
Will John Kasich Veto Ohio GOP Plan To Hamstring Medicaid Expansion?
Ohio's GOP lawmakers have thrown down a challenge for Gov. John Kasich, who now must decide whether to veto their freeze of his Medicaid expansion — a freeze that could essentially kill the program for many lower-income adults. (Balmert, 6/28)