Senate Health Bill Buries The Biggest Medicaid Cuts Using An Insufficient Inflation Adjustment, Says New Analysis By The Senior Citizens League

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“This bill hides the true cost from the public and threatens access to care.”

The Senate’s health care repeal and replace bill, contains significantly deeper Medicaid cuts than those in the House bill, according to a new analysis by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “Writers of the legislation have crafted a bill that hides the fullest impact of deep cuts affecting low-income families, older and disabled Americans,” says TSCL policy analyst Mary Johnson.

Both the House and Senate GOP health bills go beyond repealing the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, by ending the current Medicaid reimbursement system. Since Medicaid’s inception, the federal government has matched state Medicaid expenditures for people whose income is low enough to qualify. Under the Senate and House health reform bills, the federal government would use a new formula to determine a payment for each person in the program. The payments would grow by a fixed amount thereafter indexed to inflation, and states would be on the hook for any gap in costs that grow faster than payments.

“Like the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, the ability of those state payments to keep up with growing health care costs is crucial,” says Johnson, who studies the gap between inflation and health care costs. If the inflation index doesn’t, payments will be less and less sufficient to cover costs. Growing gaps between costs and reimbursements would force states to choose between cutting benefits, increasing state taxes, and restricting eligibility for benefits.

“This could be particularly problematic for older and disabled, low – income Americans who represent a…

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