Just as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had unintended consequences for the U.S. healthcare system, unwinding it could be devastating for a growing population of citizens, particularly our aging seniors.
The ACA increased access to healthcare for millions of Americans by growing and expanding the Medicaid program. By increasing funding for Medicaid, and changing the requirements necessary be become a Medicaid beneficiary, the ACA helped the poorest, sickest, and oldest among us.
Here’s what could happen, as an unintended consequence of repealing President Obama’s signature healthcare law:
- Kaiser Family Foundation data, found that almost 11 million Medicare beneficiaries also use Medicaid services (e.g., dual eligible beneficiaries who get full Medicare coverage free).
- The federal government covers between 50 percent and 75 percent of spending on the Medicaid program, based on each state’s per capita income. In this way, poorer states receive more money.
- If the house and senate pass a law that implements a per-capita cap on Medicaid spending, states will be funded based on the number of beneficiaries multiplied by the state’s average cost per person from the previous year. This amount would then be multiplies by a trending factor.
- Lawmakers and state officials in favor of this funding method claim it offers states more flexibility, lower costs and helps improve budget predictability.
- Opponents of this method claim that it’s inefficient because the trending factor is unlikely to maintain pace with increasing healthcare costs and the per-capita cap formula does not account for risk.
In short, the concern is that if the GOP implements the proposed per-capita cap on Medicaid it would be difficult for officials to maintain funding for these services and states and/or citizens will suffer the consequences. Potentially none will be affected more than our senior populations with Medicare-Medicaid.