Lutheran Services in America conducted a nationwide poll showing that the cuts and caps to Medicaid contained in the American Health Care Act are deeply unpopular. The survey said that 75 percent of Americans oppose the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts, including 55 percent of conservatives. In addition, 85 percent of Americans are against cutting off people with disabilities from Medicaid services, including 83 percent of conservatives. With the dramatic Medicaid cuts contained in the AHCA, home and community-based services for people with severe disabilities would be at risk.
“This research demonstrates that Americans across the political spectrum value the critical role that Medicaid plays in caring for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America. “Whether conservative, moderate or liberal, Americans support retaining the Medicaid benefits that seniors, children and people with disabilities rely on and oppose proposals to cut or cap the program.”
Meanwhile, in a letter to The Advocate, Susan Todd – the executive director of 504healthnet – explains the importance of health insurance coverage via Medicaid expansion which would be eliminated if the AHCA became law.
As a mother, New Orleanian and restaurant manager, Wendy didn’t have health insurance through her job. Under Medicaid expansion, she got covered and was subsequently diagnosed with a thyroid condition. She’s now on medication, managing her condition, and is healthier, feeling better and losing weight. She states, “My experience has been everything that was promised, which I never would have believed was possible.” Wendy’s story is but one of over half a million Louisianans and 23 million individuals nationwide at risk of losing access to affordable health care should Congress pass the American Health Care Act, or similar legislation being crafted in the U.S. Senate.
Senators coy on AHCA
Senators throughout the country have difficulty explaining what problem the American Health Care Act (AHCA) tries to fix. As a small group finalizes a plan that will likely take health coverage from millions of Americans, Gambit’s Kat Stromquist digs into the process and describes what’s at stake:
“The patient has to have the power. … If the patient has the power, the system lines up to serve her,” (Sen. Bill) Cassidy said. “[As] the president said, we must have a much simpler way of going about this, much less expensive and much better.” It’s worth noting that meeting even these vague requirements — “simpler,” “much less expensive” and “much better” — would require dramatic changes to the AHCA as passed by the House. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) found that the Republican plan could drop as many as 23 million people from insurance rolls, mostly by making insurance unaffordable for older and sicker Americans.
Nursing homes continue to rank poorly
Louisiana continues to be one of the worst places in the country in which to grow old, according to an annual scorecard by the AARP Foundation that ranks states on services for the elderly. As The Advocate’s Rebekah Allen reports, Louisiana fared poorly overall (40th), but especially low for the quality of nursing home care and its ability to transition people from long-term institutional care into their preferred setting.
“If this scorecard tells us anything, it’s that we’re moving too slow to meet the growing demand for care needed here in Louisiana,” said Andrew Muhl, a lobbyist for AARP Louisiana. “Unfortunately, older Louisianans overwhelmingly prefer living at home and want nursing home alternatives that simply aren’t available to them. And as a result, they aren’t getting the adequate day-to-day help they need and are entering nursing homes unnecessarily.”
Louisiana’s obstetricians, gynecologists oppose AHCA
The Louisiana chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement of opposition to the American Health Care Act on Monday. As Senate negotiations continue in secret, Louisiana ACOG urged Louisiana’s U.S. Senators to move on from the flawed legislation and instead work towards bipartisan solutions.
The facts are that cutting $834 billion out of the Medicaid program, eliminating Medicaid expansion that covers more than 428,000 Louisianans, denying qualified providers the ability to offer Medicaid-covered primary and preventive care, allowing states to opt out of covering essential benefits including maternity care, and weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions all lead to only one result: sicker patients and higher health care costs.
Winners and losers: special session edition
The budget is on the governor’s desk, and the second special session of 2017 is in the books. Julia O’Donoghue of Nola.com/The Times-Picayune looks at who came out ahead and who lost. Among the winners: higher education and state employees. The losers category included those who receive certain mental health services through Medicaid.
The state budget reduces mental health services and support for children and adults on Medicaid. The budget cut won’t affect access to psychiatric drugs or psychologists for the most part. Other programs that help children and adults with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and aggressive behavior will be reduced.
Number of the Day
341,000 – Number of Louisianans who could face annual limits in insurance coverage if the American Health Care Act becomes law. (Source: Center for American Progress via Axios)