So Republicans want to cut Medicaid? Who cares?
Lots of people, as it turns out. Those hurt by proposed Medicaid cuts include people with disabilities, babies, nursing home residents, women getting primary care through Planned Parenthood clinics, schools, and state governments.
The House called theirs the American Health Care Act and the Senate called theirs the Better Care Reconciliation Act. There’s nothing better or even good about either one. So I’m writing a series of short blog posts this week, in the hope that you will call Senators and tell them very politely to kill this bill. A list of key Senators and phone numbers is at the bottom of this post.
According to the New York Times, “A combination of longer life spans and spiraling health care costs has left an estimated 64 percent of the Americans in nursing homes dependent on Medicaid.”
Minnesota uses Medicaid dollars to provide a range of services that go beyond nursing home care:
“Over the decades, Minnesota has launched a bipartisan effort to get waivers from the federal government to make flexible use of Medicaid dollars to serve seniors in their homes or communities.
“Those funds now pay for a broad umbrella of services: help with such daily activities as bathing, grooming and toileting; house calls by nurses or case managers to help manage medications; adult day services; meals; transportation to doctor’s appointments; and household chores.
“Last year, nearly 30,000 Minnesotans were served by the Elderly Waiver program. The state spent an average of $1,300 to $1,600 per person a month, compared to the average monthly cost of a nursing home of $6,700.”
Elderly Waivers stretch Medicaid dollars – but they could be one more casualty of Medicaid cuts.
Among the other casualties of slashing Medicaid funding:
Babies – nearly half of all deliveries are covered by Medicaid, along with the vital care for newborns and infants.
Women – the Anti-Health Care Acts say no Medicaid funds can go to Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that many women depend on Planned Parenthood for primary care.
“But across the country, one in five counties served by Planned Parenthood have no federally qualified health clinics, according to the earlier C.B.O. analysis — including two counties in Mr. Ryan’s district in Wisconsin. The C.B.O. estimates that in those areas, cuts to Planned Parenthood would result in 15 percent of women losing access to health care.”
People with disabilities: “People with disabilities who rely on home- and community-based services through Medicaid — such as personal-attendant care, skilled nursing, and specialized therapies — could lose access to the services they need in order to live independently and remain in their homes,” according to the Center for American Progress, which also outlines other ways the Anti-Health Care Acts hurt people with disabilities..
Schools: According to the New York Times,
“School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.”
State governments: The Anti-Health Care Acts would limit the matching funds state governments get for their Medicaid expenditures. States that spend more than 25 percent above the national average (including Minnesota) would be penalized by reducing their federal matching funds.
Still to come this week: higher premiums for less coverage, tax cuts for the rich. (Already published: The Anti-Health Care Act and essential benefits)
Meanwhile, here’s what you can do:
New York’s Sen. Schumer says that the Senate is NOT hearing the same amount of outrage from the public about their bill as the House heard about the House bill. The Senate bill is going to a vote this week: 23 million losing coverage, the shrinking of Medicaid, and no guarantee of preexisting condition coverage, among other provisions. I don’t know anyone who will not somehow be affected by this, and this will be literally devastating for some family members and friends.
The following Senators are the most on the fence, and they need calls NOW, especially from people in their state. DC offices get swamped with calls and sometimes you can’t get through – I’ve also listed a state office number for each Senator.
You can also call the Senate Finance Committee at 202-224-4515 and leave a message saying “I call for the committee to hold a hearing on the health care bill that was just released.”
- Dean Heller (Nevada): 202-224-6244 / 702-388-6605
- Susan Collins (Maine): (202)224-2523 / (207) 622-8414
- Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): (202)-224-6665 / (907) 271-3735
- Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia): 202-224-6472 / 304-347-5372
- Bill Cassidy (Louisiana): (202) 224-5824 / (504) 838-0130
- Jeff Flake (Arizona): 202-224-4521 / 602-840-1891
- Cory Gardner (Colorado): (202) 224-5941 / (970) 484-3502
- Rob Portman (Ohio): 202-224-3353 / 614-469-6774
- Ted Cruz (Texas): (202) 224-5922 / (512) 916-5834
- Rand Paul (Kentucky): 202-224-4343 / 270-782-8303
- Mike Lee (Utah): 202-224-5444 / 801-524-5933
- Ben Sasse (Nebraska): 202-224-4224 / 402-476-1400
Please copy and post this on Facebook, or message your friends in these states. Most of all, please call.