Print Friendly and PDFPrinter Friendly Version

Blog
Thursday, March 17, 2016

With Deep Medicaid Cuts, GOP Budget Guts Access to Health Care

Dee Mahan

Andrea Callow

Associate Director of Medicaid Initiatives

Jane Sheehan

Senior Federal Relations Manager

Early this week, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) released the Republican budget, “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.” But the name is a marketing ploy. A close look at the plan reveals that, on the contrary, it would weaken millions of American families by taking away access to affordable health coverage.

The most damaging provisions of the House Republicans’ budget plan

The House Republican budget plan includes disastrous health care cuts and program restructuring that would mean significant health insecurity for children, working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

  • As in years past, the plan calls for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Repealing the ACA would shut down the health insurance marketplace, end financial assistance for marketplace insurance, and roll back a host of other insurance market reforms. The budget offers very little in the way of measures that would protect people from discrimination by insurance companies based on health status or a plan to ensure we don’t return to the dark days when insurance companies could discriminate against the sick.
  • The plan would end the Medicaid expansion, eliminating the federal funding that has allowed states to extend health coverage to millions of adults, including parents and hard-working families. The budget’s proposals would cause more than 10 million Americans to become uninsured.  
  • The plan would radically restructure the traditional Medicaid program into a block grant, resulting in more than $1.8 trillion in cuts to federal Medicaid spending. House Republicans propose to shift those costs to the states, adding additional strain to state budgets. But the reality is that there is no way states will be able to make up for that lost federal funding. For all the plan’s talk of giving states flexibility, the only flexibility it would really give states is the flexibility to decide who and what services to cut from  Medicaid.

Proposed changes to Medicaid program would damage the entire the health care system

The House Republican budget plan would be disastrous for millions of American families that depend on Medicaid, but Medicaid enrollees aren’t the only ones who will feel the pain of Medicaid cuts.

Because Medicaid is a major source of revenue for hospitals, nursing homes, home health, and other health care providers, cuts of this magnitude would be a financial blow to health care systems across the county. A weakened health care infrastructure would make it more difficult for everyone who needs care to get it—not just people with Medicaid.

Budget exposes the troubling Republican vision for American health care

The ACA is responsible for adding nearly 20 million people to the rolls of the insured-- increasing access to health care and shoring up families’ financial security.  The Republican budget proposal would reverse this progress. It’s hard to see how a plan that would increase health insecurity for millions, weaken our health care system, and pass significant costs on to states would result in anything but a much weaker America for everyone.

While the Republican budget, including the Medicaid changes, has little to no chance of becoming law this year, it outlines where conservatives want to take our country in the years ahead. It’s a clear signal that they would dismantle programs—such as Medicaid and the ACA—that are vital to helping families with low incomes climb the economic ladder.