A centerpiece of the House and Senate Republican budgets is a plan to take away health care from 14.3-20.5 million Americans.
House and Senate Republicans plan to use two steps to take away health care from tens of millions of Americans. Step one is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Step two is the conversion of Medicaid funding into a block grant.
The House budget has been analyzed in greater detail, but Senate Republicans have confirmed that their budget will contain similar language.
The Center For Budget and Policy Priorities laid out the impact of this double fisted gut punch to the American people:
Repealing health reform’s Medicaid expansion means that 14 million people would lose their Medicaid coverage or no longer gain coverage in the future. (That’s the number of people who the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] estimates would eventually gain coverage under the Medicaid expansion, though it could reach 17 million if all states adopt the expansion.) In addition, the large and growing cut in federal Medicaid funding from the block grant would almost certainly force states to sharply scale back or eliminate Medicaid coverage for millions of low-income people who have it today. All told, after accounting for the plan’s proposed repeal of health reform’s marketplace subsidies, tens of millions of people would likely become uninsured under Chairman Price’s plan.
Under the Price plan, the federal government would no longer pay a fixed share of states’ Medicaid costs, starting in 2017. Instead, states would get a fixed dollar amount of federal funding known as “State Flexibility Funds.” (The budget plan doesn’t specify how it would set each state’s block grant amounts initially or adjust them each year.)
The Urban Institute estimated that former Chairman Ryan’s similar block grant proposal in 2012 would lead states to drop between 14.3 million and 20.5 million people from Medicaid by the tenth year (outside of the effects of repealing health reform’s Medicaid expansion). That would cause a drop in enrollment of between 25 percent and 35 percent. The Urban Institute also estimated that the block grant likely would have caused cuts in reimbursements to health care providers of more than 30 percent by the tenth year. Chairman Price’s Medicaid block grant proposal likely would mean similarly draconian cuts.
The current House Republican budget is Paul Ryan’s plan with one key difference. More people are going to lose or be underinsured under the new version of Ryan’s plan. By repealing Obamacare, tens of millions of additional Americans would lose their subsidies, or be thrown off of their parents’ insurance. The changes to Medicaid alone would result in 14-20 million losing their health care, and an additional 10-13 million would be underinsured after they lost their ACA subsidies.
The only way that Republicans can afford to cut taxes for wealthy and balance the budget is to take away health care from tens of millions of Americans. A budget is a statement of priorities. House Republicans made it clear that taking away access to health care while cutting taxes for the rich and corporations is their top priority.
One of the issues that Republican presidential candidates will try to disguise and not talk about is the impact that their plan to repeal the ACA will have on the American people. Republicans are constructing a platform that is based on jeopardizing the welfare and lives of millions of their constituents.
As Obamacare grows more successful, the potential impact of their plan to destroy it all becomes more devastating by the year.