Washington, DC – Protect Our Care along with advocates and activists will observe Medicaid Awareness Month this April by highlighting Medicaid’s vital importance for millions of Americans in communities across the country and how President Trump’s agenda of repeal and sabotage threatens Medicaid coverage for millions of Americans.
To mark the start of the Medicaid Awareness Month, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:
“From providing health insurance to children and those with disabilities to critical programs for seniors to combating the scourge of opioid addiction, Medicaid serves as a lifeline for millions of Americans, without which many of whom would not get the care they need. While Democrats have made clear that strengthening and expanding Medicaid is a key part of their health care agenda, President Trump and Republicans remain dead set on gutting it and ripping up the entire health care system. With Trump’s lawsuit, Republicans are returning to an agenda of repeal that will strip coverage from millions of Americans and prevent those on Medicaid from getting the care they need. Make no mistake, from so-called ‘work requirements’ and ‘block grants’ to budget cuts, failed repeal attempts and the Trump lawsuit, the President has declared outright war on Medicaid.”
Medicaid is an essential program for more than 75 million Americans currently receiving coverage, including more than 35 million children, and nearly 7 million seniors. While Democrats have taken concrete steps to expand and strengthen Medicaid, Republicans and the Trump administration continue to do everything they can to gut Medicaid and strip people of their coverage.
The Trump lawsuit that aims to dismantle the entire health care system, the effort by President Trump to impose so-called ‘“work requirements” on Medicaid recipients, his recent proposed $1.3 trillion cut to the program in his budget and his pledge to again pursue legislative repeal that would slash Medicaid and end the Medicaid expansion represents the most significant assault on the program since it was signed into law more than 50 years ago.
Throughout the month of April, Protect Our Care and other partner organizations will host dozens of events nationwide to raise awareness of the critical role that Medicaid plays in America as well as the consequences of the Trump Administration’s war on Medicaid, and what his health care sabotage means for the future of the program.
The month will include the following theme’s each week:
- Week 1: The Republican War On Medicaid
- Week 2: Medicaid Expansion — And The States Rolling It Back
- Week 3: Medicaid Is A Lifeline For Rural America And Veterans
- Week 4: The Cost Of Sabotaging Medicaid
See below for background on this week’s Medicaid Awareness focus, the Republican war on Medicaid:
President Trump and Republicans in Congress have waged a relentless war on Medicaid. Their war on Medicaid is a war on children, seniors, people with disabilities, rural Americans, those fighting the opioid crisis, our schools, and everyone else who benefits from Medicaid.
FRONTAL ATTACK – REPUBLICANS HAVE REPEATEDLY TRIED EVISCERATING MEDICAID
Despite repeatedly promising not to cut Medicaid when he ran for president in 2017, President Trump’s latest budget called for $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid. Trump’s lawsuit to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act would end Medicaid expansion, kicking 12.7 million who depend on the program off their insurance.
With the support of the Trump Administration, House Republicans in 2017 voted to repeal the ACA — the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — which would have cut Medicaid by $834 billion and turned it into a per capita program. The Senate repeal bill — Graham-Cassidy — would have slashed Medicaid funding by $4 trillion over 20 years.
SABOTAGE ATTACK – ONEROUS REQUIREMENTS
When they are not calling for dramatic cuts to Medicaid, Republicans are finding other ways to sabotage the program. For instance, Republicans in state after state are proposing illegal and burdensome “work requirements” which do nothing but take health care away from people who need it. Medicaid work requirements are blatantly designed to strip health care away from low-income Americans. Thankfully, they have now been declared illegal by multiple courts. Republican governors now want to appeal these decisions.
Despite these court decisions, President Trump’s 2020 budget proposed a nationwide work requirement which experts estimate will cause up to 4 million people to lose coverage, mostly due to paperwork and red tape. More than 18,000 people lost their Medicaid in Arkansas because of the work requirement the courts have now overturned.
In November’s elections, voters moved to expand Medicaid in three states and elect pro-Medicaid governors in even more. Now, Republlican officials are doing everything in their power to deny voters’ will in states that elected to expand Medicaid and prevent Medicaid expansion initiatives in states now starting to consider them. Just last week the Trump administration approved a request from Utah to cap its Medicaid enrollment, fundamentally restricting the number of people who can access life-saving health care.
WHO BENEFITS FROM THE GOP WAR ON MEDICAID? THE WEALTHY AND BIG CORPORATIONS
In 2017, President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy and that is already padding health company’s profits. How do Republicans plan on paying for it? Former Speaker Ryan’s answer left no doubt: “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.” In an attempt to pay for these tax cuts, last April, House Republicans passed a balanced budget amendment that would slash Medicaid funding by $114 billion in a single year alone. President Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget called for $1.5 trillion in cuts over ten years.
The Republican plan is clear: give companies like drug giant Pfizer a $563 million tax benefit, and make low and middle income Americans pay the price.
WHO GETS HURT FROM THE GOP WAR ON MEDICAID? PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE ELSE.
- Children & Families. Roughly 9 million children in the United States are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Nationally, nearly 2 in 5, or 39% of children in America have health insurance through Medicaid, as do 17 Percent of parents. 49 percent of births are covered by Medicaid.
- More than 6.9 million American seniors have Medicaid coverage. More than 8.5 million Americans ages 50 to 64 have health coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid covers 6 in 10 nursing home residents.
- People with disabilities. Nearly 7 million adults enrolled in Medicaid have a disability. Of this group, only 43 percent qualify for social security income. More than 1 in 3 adults under age 65 enrolled in Medicaid lives with at least one disability. Medicaid covers 45 percent of nonelderly adults with disabilities, including adults with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and mental illness.
- People in rural areas. The ACA has expanded access to health care to nearly 7 million rural Americans who have gained coverage through the Medicaid expansion, not only playing a central role in improving rural communities’ health, but also supporting these communities’ economic well-being. Medicaid covers nearly 24 percent of rural Americans, 45 percent of rural children, 15 percent of rural seniors, and pays for 51 percent of rural births. The uninsured rate in rural areas in states that expanded Medicaid has dropped by a median of 44 percent since expansion.
- Fighting the opioid crisis. More than half of people with an opioid use disorder earn incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. In 2014, Medicaid paid for 25 percent of all addiction treatment nationwide. It is estimated that Medicaid expansion covers four in ten people with an opioid use disorder.