Thursday, May 4, 2017
According to The State of Health Insurance Coverage in the Mid South, from 2010-2015, more than 16 million people in the United States—including 930,000 Mid South residents in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee—gained access to health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the current healthcare legislation proposed by Congress—the American Health Care Act, or AHCA—would cause 24 million people to lose health insurance coverage by 2026. This is because the legislation would end Medicaid expansion and would restructure state Medicaid funding. In the Mid South, Arkansas and Louisiana are more likely to experience larger coverage losses.
AHCA would phase out Medicaid expansion.
The ACA expanded Medicaid to cover low-income adults who cannot afford insurance or do not receive it through their employer. Thirty-one (31) states and the District of Columbia opted to expand Medicaid, including Arkansas and Louisiana. The proposed healthcare legislation would end the enhanced federal funding (by 2020) that Arkansas and Louisiana now receive to help cover the people who get Medicaid through the expansion. This would increase the number of uninsured by 695,000 in Arkansas and Louisiana once fully implemented - 287,100 in Arkansas and 416,900 in Louisiana, respectively.
AHCA would cap federal Medicaid funds.
The proposed healthcare legislation would convert federal Medicaid funding to a per capita cap. This drastic cut in federal funding to states will not only hurt state budgets but will put at risk quality coverage and benefits for seniors, those with disabilities, and families with kids. In Arkansas, of the nearly 700,000 Arkansans who rely on Medicaid, almost half (47 percent) are children and a quarter (25 percent) are seniors and people with disabilities. In Louisiana, more than 1.2 million residents receive Medicaid in which half (50 percent) are children and more than a quarter (28 percent) are seniors and people with disabilities.
The current healthcare legislation proposed by Congress will result in devastating consequences for some of our most vulnerable populations. Rather than jeopardize health insurance coverage for residents in Arkansas and Louisiana, as well as the rest of the nation, lawmakers and healthcare leaders should find ways to preserve the coverage gains and the many benefits of Medicaid expansion created under the ACA.
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Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (April 13, 2017). State reports: House Republican Health Plan would mean more uninsured, costlier coverage. Retrieved from http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/state-reports-house-republican-health-plan-would-mean-more-uninsured-costlier