Recently the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Ways and Means Committee passed legislation to cut Medicaid and repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This bill is moving fast, and we expect the House to vote on it this week. Simply stated, this legislation is devastating. Here’s why:
- People with disabilities get slammed by Medicaid cuts
$880 billion would get cut from the Medicaid program over the next decade. This cut comes from 1) changing the financing structure of the program to a per capita cap model, and 2) phasing out the “Medicaid expansion,” which incentivizes states to cover people up to 138% of the federal poverty level (income of $16, 642 per year) for an individual.
The result is a cost shift to states that would likely force states to choose among options such as:
- Cut eligibility. People with disabilities, low income adults, children, pregnant women, and seniors could be cut from the rolls.
- Cut services. Current “optional” services such as in home services, assistive technology, transportation, supported employment, and much more could be up for grabs.
- Cut quality. If federal Medicaid regulations are lost, it could be cheaper for states to warehouse people with disabilities in institutions rather than provide quality home and community based services.
- Millions of Americans will lose health care
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, there will be 24 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026. This includes 14 million fewer people enrolled in Medicaid. This reality contradicts the many assertions from the President and many Members of Congress that no one would lose health care.
- Middle class families pay more
For moderate-income families, the ACHA’s reduction in tax credits could make coverage out of reach. For families with income below 250% of poverty, estimates show that by 2020, when many provisions of the bill kick in, costs would increase by over $9,000.
- The tax breaks favor the rich, corporations, and health care providers
The ACHA repeals many of the tax provisions that are used to help finance the ACA. Millions of low and moderate income people would lose their health insurance to pay for $600 billion in tax cuts for the rich and the insurance, drug, and medical device industries. This includes $285 billion in taxes for the top 2% of earners and the elimination of the cap that insurance companies can deduct from their taxes for executives making over $500,000 per year.
- Prevention Takes a Hit
The Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides crucial financial support for public health and other services that assist people with disabilities. would be gone in 2018. According to analysis by the Trust for America’s Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would lose 12 percent of its annual budget if the Prevention and Public Health Fund is repealed.