Republican Medicaid Caps Could Hurt U.S. Citizens

The plans to reduce costs may lead to big bills for both states and providers, while also reducing the options for the poor

Republicans who, behind closed doors, wrote a health care bill, call it a revoke of Obamacare. However, the legislation could represent a huge transformation for the federal health program that provides coverage to more Americans than the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.

This is called Medicaid. The plan that the House passed in May would cap the amount that U.S. Pays for Medicaid (public health insurance program for the poor citizens of the U.S.). This is something that has never happened before, and it represents a big deal. That’s mostly because more than one fifth of Americans depend on Medicaid for health care.

First created in 1965, the program covers roughly 72 million people who find themselves at the lowest level of income. To qualify, one needs to be near poverty. Depending on the state, single adults can make only $16,000 per year. The limit is somewhere about $30,000 for a family of four.

Medicaid does not cover the middle-class workers during their prime-age years; however, many older adults rely on the program to pay for long-term nursing home stays, during final years.

Since now, Medicaid has always been an open-ended program, not subject to any sort of budget caps. The costs are covered more than half by the government, and states contribute to the rest of the amount. The rates are negotiated between Medicaid and doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes.

The program pays less than private insurance or Medicare (government insurance for people over 65 years old). On the other hand, Medicaid is obliged by the law to pay for all of those who qualify, regardless of the rise in prices that are not anticipated by the government.

The Republican plan aims to change that. It aims to limit Washington’s contribution to Medicaid programs, based on the number of people enrolled, as well as the price level. Details are still kept secret and not available for the public, as Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky insisted to do so.