03.12.2015 / Press Release
House Republican Budget Slashes Medicaid While Key Republican Governors Extol and Expand It
“The House Republican plan will cause enormous harm to seniors with chronic health conditions, children needing to see a doctor, and low-wage working families by taking a sledgehammer to the Medicaid program and, once again, making it the largest target for budget cuts.”The House Republican plan to decimate Medicaid flies in the face of actions by several key Republican governors who have extolled, and proposed to expand, their programs.
“These governors understand that Medicaid is crucial so ‘kids can learn better in school and so mom and dad can be better parents and more productive employees’ (1); so people no longer ‘get their primary care in an emergency room’ (2); and that expanding Medicaid ‘is the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health.’ (3)
“Instead of eliminating funding to states for expanding Medicaid and decimating the existing program, House Republicans should follow the lead of these governors and help to strengthen it.
“The House Republican budget yet again calls for repealing the Affordable Care Act, even though Speaker Boehner himself has called it the ‘law of the land.’ Undoing the Affordable Care Act would cause seniors to pay much more for their medicines, take away middle-class tax credits that will make health coverage affordable, and disrupt improvements to the health care system that are already improving care and reducing costs.
“Additionally, the House Republicans’ claim that they will ‘save’ Medicare is a sham. It makes no sense to ‘save’ Medicare by destroying it—replacing it with an unaffordable voucher system.
“The House Republican budget plan should be rejected and should not be seriously considered in future budget negotiations.”
(1) New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez
(2) Ohio Governor John Kasich
(3) New Jersey Governor Chris ChristieThe following comments by key Republican governors extoll the benefits of the Medicaid program:
Florida Governor Rick Scott: “Quality healthcare services must be accessible and affordable for all not just those in certain zip codes or tax brackets. No mother, or father, should despair over whether or not they can afford or access the healthcare their child needs.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: “These people are consistently among those who need help the most—men and women who have suffered trauma in their lives, live with mental illness, rely on New Jersey’s emergency rooms for primary health care needs, or those citizens who lack insurance or access to treatment.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer: “By agreeing to expand our Medicaid program just slightly beyond what Arizona voters have twice mandated, we will: protect rural and safety-net hospitals from being pushed to the brink by their growing costs in caring for the uninsured; take advantage of the enormous economic benefits—inject $2 billion into our economy—save and create thousands of jobs; and provide health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: “Access to health insurance has the potential to improve the well being of our families, so that our kids can learn better in school and so mom and dad can be better parents and more productive employees.”
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: “That’s why, last week, I announced we will expand Medicaid to cover up to 170,000 more low-income New Mexicans. It was the right thing to do. It means expanding the health care safety net to more of those in need and moving care from costly emergency rooms into primary care offices. And, it does not jeopardize the state’s long-term budget outlook. In fact, given our unique population and programs, we can expect revenue increases that offset the cost of providing these services.
Ohio Governor John Kasich: “Many of these people who are below the $14,000 in income, some of the poorest Ohioans, they get their primary care in an emergency room. Now, that is not the best way to get people primary care. Not only is it not good for them because it doesn’t allow them to get healthy, but secondly it drives up the cost of everybody’s health insurance.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich: “Today, uninsured, low income Ohioans often turn to the emergency room for health care, sidestepping prevention and primary care for a high cost option that should only be used as a last resort. By offering coordinated care to these individuals, mortality will be reduced by as much as 6 percent and Ohioans will live healthier and more productive lives.”
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder: “When you stop and look at Medicaid expansion the real issue is how you can get better care at lower cost. And that’s the objective behind all this. And if you stop and look at what the situation involves, this is a case where the numbers show 46 percent of the uninsured in Michigan will be covered by this. In terms of providing health care opportunities to them, that’s huge.”
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval: “All in all, it makes the best sense for the state to opt in,” he said. “This is a way for me to protect these people.”
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple: “We try to leave the politics out in the hallway when we make these decisions. In the end, it comes down to are you going to allow your people to have additional Medicaid money that comes at no cost to us, or aren’t you?” he said. “We’re thinking, yes, we should.”
The following comments by key Republican governors indicate they would withdraw their agreement to expand Medicaid if federal funding for the program is diminished:
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval: “I will commit to working with the Legislature if anything changes at the federal level. At any point during the Legislative session, if there is any sign of change at the state or federal level, it may alter my support for expansion.”
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: “Medicaid expansion is a federal government commitment and if they should ever break their funding promise, New Mexico will not pick up the burden of adults most recently added to the program at the expense of cutting health care for New Mexico kids. I will not let those kids pay the price.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: “But in this instance, expanding Medicaid by 104,000 citizens in a program that already serves 1.4 million, is the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health. If that ever changes because of adverse actions by the Obama Administration, I will end it as quickly as it started.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer: “As I weighed this decision, I was troubled by the possibility that a future President and Congress may take steps to reduce federal matching rates, leaving states with a greater and greater share of health costs over time. And I worried that any expansion of Medicaid—no matter the federal subsidies—could result in costs the State cannot afford. Together with my team, I’ve crafted a plan to address both of these concerns and safeguard Arizona. First, any expansion of our Medicaid program will include a circuit-breaker that AUTOMATICALLY rolls back enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease. I won’t allow ObamaCare to become a bait-and-switch. Second, we will allow hospitals and health providers to assess a fee upon themselves—using that revenue to leverage federal assistance.