Healthcare Reform May Leave Many Without Health Insurance
As Senate Republicans continue to work on the American Health Care Act that passed through the House, aides have revealed that there are talks to reduce Medicaid even further than the bill originally proposed, leaving more people without coverage.
The proposal would maintain the same growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending as seen in the House bill, but would drop to a lower rate and cut more spending in 2025.
There was already considerable opposition to the current Medicaid cuts from Democrats and a few more moderate Republicans, and this deepening of the reductions is certain to cause more tension within an already polarized Senate.
The budget for Medicaid would be cut by more than $800.0 billion over 10 years in the current bill proposed. The Congressional Budget Office scored the bill and found that 14 million fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid over 10 years. The further cuts have yet to be examined and it is therefore unknown how many more would be stripped of coverage.
The concerns over the bill are growing as many believe that the cuts already in place will negatively impact millions.
One recent study by the Associated Press looked at the role that Medicaid plays in opioid treatment, for instance, and found that the numbers were staggering.
According to the data gathered, 61% of total Medicaid expansion spending went towards substance abuse treatment in Kentucky, 47% in West Virginia, 56% in Michigan, 59% in Maryland, and 31% in Rhode Island.
Many of these victims of substance abuse would potentially lose coverage if the bill passes as it is currently constructed. Should the cuts become even harsher from there, many more could also find themselves without coverage while battling opioid addiction.
Opioid addiction has become an epidemic across the U.S., affecting many states and millions of substance abusers, whether via addiction to prescription drugs or street-level substances like heroin.
The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, and it is likely that the bill will pass after discussions over it have ceased.
Earlier, it was reported that Democrats were being shut out of the bill discussions, and it is unlikely that they will have much say in the construction of the bill due to the Republican majority.
“Senate GOP considers deeper Medicaid cuts than House bill,” The Hill, June 19, 2017.
“Proposed cutbacks in Medicaid pose threat to opioid treatment,” The Journal Gazette, June 21, 2017.