Coming Soon: Medicaid the Target for Huge Funding Cuts
In the U.S. Congress yesterday, Rick Santorum and other Republican leaders unveiled yet another plan to repeal the ACA and targeting Medicaid for huge funding cuts. Their full plan can be found here. As was the case with other Congressioal ACA repeal proposals in 2017, Medicaid would be hard-hit. Ironically called the "Health Care Choices" Proposal, it actually threatens to take away the choice to have affordable, quality health insurance from more than 200,000 West Virginians.
The "Health Care Choices" proposal completely eliminates the Medicaid expansion (which covers more than 180,000 West Virginians). It also eliminates the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace premium subsidies (34,000 West Virginians bought plans during open enrollment in the West Virginia ACA Marketplace for 2017 and 87% received an average $558/mo premium subsidy covering more than 70% of the premium for comprehensive, quality coverage.)
This new ACA repeal proposal replaces these programs with a new limited dollars block grant that will make especially deep federal funding cuts in the states that have done the most to expand coverage - like West Virginia.
At the same time, the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee is aiming to pass a new 2019 budget blueprint this week. It is not clear that blueprint will go to the House floor for a vote. Nonetheless the budget serves as an expression of Congressional Republican leadership’s priorities for next year, including a continued effort to attack Medicaid.
Taken together, this week’s budget blueprint and the new ACA repeal proposal drive home the importance of our work to educate the public and law-makers about the benefits of Medicaid for millions of low-income individuals and families.
Republican Leadership on the Budget Committee advancing the new budget blueprint said they now want to balance the budget in 9 years – by enacting federal spending cuts to counter-balance the tax cuts in the tax bill that they passed last year.
That tax law adds at least $1 trillion to the nation’s debt. In our state, the richest 1 percent of West Virginians would receive an average tax cut of $2,700 while the bottom three-fifths (60%) of West Virginians would receive a tax increase. Said another way - If your family income is under about $100,000 a year you will pay more in taxes.
To balance these new tax cuts, the budget blueprint proposes to:
- Cut Medicare by $537 billion over the next decade.
- Cut Medicaid and other health programs by $1.5 trillion.
- Transform Medicaid by limiting per capita payments or allowing states to turn it into a block-grant program — the same approach in last year’s failed bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- Add work requirements for adults enrolled in Medicaid.