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 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.
- 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.