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Medicaid watchers are very concerned about the progress that the Obamacare repeal and replacement bill is making in the U.S. Senate. Although some reports say that it’s not going to happen anytime soon, we’re also hearing that the Senate’s version of the health care bill is very much alive and could come up for a vote very quickly.
The pending Senate bill might mimic the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would result in 23 million more Americans without insurance, a cap on Medicaid and cuts, and other reforms that would have a negative impact on Americans' health and wellbeing—as well as our personal finances and the state budget.
Why are we so concerned about the Senate’s version of the health care bill?
Representatives from Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Disability Rights Wisconsin, and a Certified Peer Specialist who relies on Medicaid participated in a press call earlier this month to discuss the multiple threats to Medicaid by reforms at the federal and state levels. Here are some of the issues we raised:
We don’t know much about the contents of the Senate bill: it hasn’t been released publicly and it might not have public committee hearings. (The House version of the AHCA didn’t have a public hearing, either.)
More than 1 million Wisconsinites rely on Medicaid for their health care, including low-income adults and children; those living with disabilities, a behavioral health issue, or substance use disorder; and the frail elderly. The federal government and state government split the costs for Medicaid, with the feds picking up about 60% of the costs and the state paying for about 40%. If Medicaid is capped and the federal portion of funding is cut, the state simply won’t be able to cover the federal share that has been lost. That will lead to a major loss of support for those currently enrolled in Medicaid and create difficult decisions for state policy makers.
Medicaid helps to provide funding for more than 118,000 students in Wisconsin who receive special education. The federal government pays for 57% of those costs. What will happen to these students if their programs are cut or weakened because the federal government doesn’t want to support these students?
Medicaid provides critical funding for programs that help those living with a mental health issue or substance use disorder. What will happen if behavioral health and substance abuse treatments are cut?
Wisconsin groups that are concerned about Medicaid’s future are organizing a statewide Day of Action on June 15, during which they are encouraging supporters to call Wisconsin’s Senators, Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, and make their voices heard. You can find out more about the June 15 Day of Action on the Survival Coalition’s website.
Posted Jun 23, 2017
Posted Jun 22, 2017