Washington, DC — 54 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. Since then, both programs have improved the well-being of millions of Americans and saved countless lives in the process. Yet Republicans continue to do everything they can to slash their budgets and kick millions of Americans off their coverage. To mark this important anniversary, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:
“Medicare and Medicaid are crucial lifelines for millions of Americans, but the programs remain under constant assault by Republicans who want nothing more than to gut or out-right end them. From slashing funding for both programs in their budgets, supporting the ongoing Trump-Texas lawsuit to eliminate Medicaid expansion entirely and imposing onerous paperwork requirements for Medicaid coverage, Republicans have stopped at nothing to strip health care from millions of Americans. While President Trump and Republicans’ never-ending war on health care rages on, Medicare continues to provide quality care for American seniors and Medicaid expansion proves to be an unmitigated success that saves the lives of children, families and people with disabilities every single day.”
HERE ARE SOME OF THE WAYS REPUBLICANS HAVE TRIED TO UNDERMINE MEDICARE:
- Trump’s 2020 budget proposal would cut more than $800 billion from Medicare over a decade. Despite repeatedly promising not to cut Medicare, President Trump’s budget would cut roughly 10 percent of Medicare’s funding over the next ten years to help pay for tax cuts to insurance and big drug companies.
- Trump and his Republican allies support a lawsuit that would overturn the entire ACA and re-open the “donut” hole, forcing seniors to pay more for prescription drugs. If the Republican lawsuit is successful, seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole got reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.
- As the cost of drugs skyrocket, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress will not allow Medicare to negotiate for better prescription drug prices. Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is explicitly prohibited from negotiating directly with drug manufacturers on behalf of Medicare Part D enrollees. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was recently blocked by Senate Republicans.
WHO GETS HURT FROM THE GOP WAR ON MEDICAID?
- Children & Families. Roughly 34.9 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.
- Seniors. 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 8.7 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 1.7 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.