The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis for the Senate Republican healthcare billon Monday, and it appears to dispel a major Republican talking point about the bill’s relationship to Medicaid.
Since Senate Republicans released their healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, on Thursday, the Trump administration and Senate Republicans have argued that the bill would not make cuts to the government-run healthcare program.
Medicaid is a federal program that provides insurance primarily to pregnant women, single mothers, people with disabilities, and seniors with low incomes.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the law better known as Obamacare, Medicaid was expanded to those earning 138% of the federal poverty limit in states choosing to participate. Previously, the line was drawn at 100%.
“I have to strongly disagree with the characterization that we are somehow ending the Medicaid expansion. In fact, quite the contrary. The Senate bill will codify and make permanent the Medicaid expansion, and in fact we’ll have the federal government pay the lion share of the cost,” Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told Face The Nation on Sunday.
Despite Toomey’s statement, the BCRA phases out the Medicaid expansion over several years beginning in 2021, with the idea that those who fall out of Medicaid eligibility will access coverage through the individual insurance market.
The CBO threw cold water on both the talking point that the BCRA doesn’t end the expansion or cut Medicaid funding.
The CBO’s analysis found that 22 million fewer people would have insurance under the bill by 2026. Cuts to Medicaid would reach $772 billion by 2026.
The CBO also said that it does not expect many of those who fall out of Medicaid eligibility under the BCRA to purchase insurance “because of the expense for premiums and the high deductibles” for individual market plans.
Here’s what Medicaid is projected to look like under the BCRA, compared to Obamacare.
Cuts to Medicaid spending were notably $62 billion less over the next decade than what is proposed in the American Health Care Act, the bill passed by the House in May.
Medicaid covers more than 74 million Americans, including low-income people, families, and kids, as well as pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
- Diane Yukari/Business Insider
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Here’s a breakdown of the percentage of federal funding each state receives for Medicaid. Dark blue states are most likely to feel the cuts proposed by the BCRA.
- Andy Kiersz/Business Insider
The bill scales back federal funding for Medicaid – which is more than half the spending for the program at the state level. That would leave states – which also fund the program – with fewer resources.
By law, state Medicaid programs have to cover nursing homes. If those states receive less funding from the federal government, it could increase the pressure on the operations of nursing homes, in turn possibly limiting who can qualify for care.