'No Cuts to Medicaid': Disabled Protesters Carried Away From McConnell's Office
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 23, 2017,
Jun 23, 2017, 22:24
The Senate's health insurance bill is finally available for scrutiny.
But critics in both parties responded with dismay to the long-term blueprint for overhauling Medicaid, which some analysts say could force 14 million or more beneficiaries off the rolls by 2026 and jettison numerous services now provided. Under the ACA, low-income patients received subsidies for out-of-pocket health care costs, including deductibles and co-pays. 'And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, can not change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation'. But those who believe health care is a right will see it as a step back.
Those savings would be achieved in a number of ways, but primarily by changing the way the federal government and states share in the cost of Medicaid. Medicaid covers some 70 million people, from newborns to elderly nursing home residents.
The 142-page bill would roll back Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid. That would be done by adopting a new per-capita-cap system that would limit future federal contributions to a set amount per beneficiary and gradually shift more of the financial responsibility to the states. The Senate bill would link increases in funding for Medicaid to the Medical Consumer Price Index plus 1 percentage point through 2025. Higher payments would be provided through 2023.
However, the legislation is surprisingly tougher on Medicaid than the bill that narrowly emerged from the House in early May, especially in curbing the long-term growth of federal funding for the program. Uses a less generous inflation adjustment than House bill.
Just prior to the protest, Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama's health care law. It is Obamacare lite-the health law that Republicans claim to oppose, but less of it. It would allow states to opt out of essential health benefits and Obamacare's requirement that insurers charge sick and healthy people the same rates.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the legislation a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and "meaner" than the House version. ACA subsidies are tied to a benchmark plan, now the silver plan, with a moderate deductible.
House GOP bill: Premium subsidies are keyed to age, not income.
Then there's the cost-sharing subsidies.
"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor". The Senate plan changes that to the higher-deductible bronze plan. Cost-sharing subsidies are explicitly extended through 2019, an important detail that should help calm insurance markets.
The bill would also allow insurers to charge older Americans up to five times more than younger Americans. "The Senate bill goes a substantial way to nearly destroying Medicaid in the long run", said Greenstein.
Protesters filled a hallway in the office building, outside the office of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Obama law: Requires those deemed able to afford coverage to have a policy or risk fines from the IRS.
Senate GOP bill: Same as House. But some moderates, including Portman and Murkowski whose states benefit from expanded Medicaid, have called for a longer phase-out period of seven years, to assure a "smooth glide path".
Obama law: Raised taxes on upper-income people and health care companies to finance coverage expansion.
HOUSE: The bill would repeal most Obamacare taxes retroactively after December 31, 2016, and delay the Cadillac tax to 2026.
Senate GOP bill: Tax cuts very similar to House bill, though some would be delayed.
READ: Can You Stay On Your Parent's Health Insurance? However, they must collect a separate premium, strictly segregated from taxpayer funds. The bill would also bar using tax credits to buy coverage that includes abortions.
However, under Senate rules, there's a chance abortion restrictions on private insurance plans may be struck down.