News & Press: Public Policy

Senate Health Bill Proposes Big Changes to Medicaid Beyond Repealing and Replacing the ACA

Wednesday, July 26, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kim Hollingshead
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The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the “repeal and replace” bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate, includes provisions that would fundamentally change Medicaid. For Medicaid, the overall framework is very similar to earlier versions of the bill in the Senate and the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed in the House. Both the BCRA and the AHCA go beyond repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) to make fundamental changes to Medicaid by setting a limit on federal funding through a per capita cap or block grant.

While these measures account for most of the bill’s $756 billion reduction in federal Medicaid spending over the next decade, there are other big changes in the bill that would reshape the federal health insurance program that covers 74 million low-income Americans.

A new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlights several less-discussed Medicaid provisions in the bill, including:

  • Phase out of the enhanced federal financing for the ACA Medicaid expansion. To date, 32 states have implemented the Medicaid expansion.
  • An option for states to require work as a condition of Medicaid eligibility for the first time in the program’s history
  • Changes in eligibility and enrollment processes that would make it more difficult for eligible individuals to obtain and maintain Medicaid coverage.

The issue brief goes into more detail regarding the provisions in the Senate bill. However, given the impact the provisions identified above could have on low-income residents in affordable housing, it is imperative that AASC members and their residents inform their Members of Congress (MoCs) what the potential adverse impact would be if these changes to the Medicaid program become law.

You may want to collect personal stories from your residents (and yourself, if you are affected by the bill) regarding how they will be impacted by these changes to the Medicaid program to use in your advocacy and education efforts with your MoCs.