Medicaid cuts and kids

Posted on June 30, 2017

Louisiana’s pediatricians have pushed back hard against the Medicaid caps and cuts included in the Senate’s “health care” bill. Ashley Politz, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, wrote to The Daily Comet to put the effects in context.

The Senate is preparing to vote on a bill that would fundamentally change the way Medicaid works. By dismantling Medicaid through capped funding and the elimination of the Medicaid expansion, those who will suffer the most are those who need health care the most. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program provide health insurance for more than 820,000 children in Louisiana, assuring access to health care for approximately 45 percent of the children in our state. … Healthy children learn better and grow up to be productive healthy adults, and having affordable, quality health insurance is key to making that possible.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that one of the little-noticed Medicaid changes in the is its effect on kids. Coverage for kids could be rolled back and less funds would be available for home and community-based services for people with disabilities – both young and old. Jessica Schubel has more on how the bill would worsen coverage, reduce state flexibility and raise uncompensated care costs:

It would also make other, little noticed, changes that together would cut Medicaid spending by another $29 billion, significantly affecting coverage and financial security for over 70 million low-income Americans — including children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities — while reducing state flexibility and increasing hospitals’ uncompensated care costs.


Health insurance and mortality

The Congressional Budget Office has updated its analysis of the Senate “health” plan, with a new addendum saying that coverage losses would accelerate after 2026 thanks to reductions in Medicaid. Times Picayune columnist Tim Morris looks into the connection between those health insurance losses and mortality.

The idea is that people without access to health care are more likely to die sooner than those with health care coverage and that the independent Congressional Budget Office is predicting that 22 million people will lose health care over the next decade under the GOP proposal. So, are people without health coverage more likely to die sooner than those with coverage?  Politifact says it “found at least seven academic papers that detected a link between securing health insurance and a decline in mortality.”


Senate bill bad for small business

An insurer is raising the alarm that the Senate bill would raise premiums for small employer-sponsored plans. This could lead to higher costs for small businesses. Vox’s Sarah Kliff explains:

The Better Care Reconciliation Act, one health insurance industry source warned in a private email obtained by Vox, would “cause most small employers’ premiums to go up” and “leave consumers at risk.” … “The problem is that it removes the states’ capacity to protect consumers in their states,” says one former state insurance commissioner, who asked for anonymity to speak openly about Senate bill. Experts worry that this re-regulating of the small-business market could disadvantage sick Americans. Small businesses with healthy employees may join associations that sign up for plans with fewer benefits and lower premiums, pushing down their employees’ premiums. Small companies that have employees with expensive health needs, however, may get stuck purchasing increasingly expensive plans.

And Rhett Buttle and Amanda Ballantyne write to The Hill arguing that the Affordable Care Act has been good for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

In January, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services released a report showing that one out of five customers benefitting from the marketplace in 2014 were small business owners or self-employed. This report is evidence that the ACA marketplaces have given entrepreneurs a place to shop and compare health insurance plans, an option many business owners did not have before.


SNAP cuts threaten progress on hunger eradication

In a new TIME op-ed, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts and Peter Edelman, professor at Georgetown Law Center professor, recount the role members of their families played in working to end starvation in the United States. They then warn that the large cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget could turn back the clock. The proposed cuts would shift large costs to the state and impact kids, struggling families and seniors.

The support for SNAP on both sides of the aisle points to a profoundly unifying belief that the majority of Americans share: A country of our bounty, resources and power has no excuse for watching a single one of its citizens starve.That enduring support is also a testament to the simple fact that SNAP has worked. Today, this country continues to suffer from stubborn and painful poverty. But we have nowhere near the level of malnutrition and life-threatening hunger that we did at the time of (former Sen. Robert) Kennedy’s trip, after which the United States came together to set a clear national standard for human dignity. But that dignity is in danger. President Donald Trump has proposed to cut nearly $200 billion out of SNAP. His budget would shift a large percentage of the program’s cost to states, allowing individual governors and state legislatures to shrink benefits and exclude beneficiaries. The impact of these cuts would be devastating. Forty-three million Americans rely on SNAP. More than half of SNAP recipients are children or the elderly.


Programming note

The Daily Dime is taking its annual summer hiatus during July. LBP will still be hard at work, though, and will publish and distribute blogs and reports as warranted by policy developments in Louisiana and Washington, D.C.


Number of the Day

35 – Percent cut to Medicaid over the next two decades under the Senate “health” bill. The cuts are projected to leave 15 million people without health insurance by 2026, with even more losing coverage during the following decade as cuts become more severe. (Source: Congressional Budget Office)


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