Senior Policy Analyst
Republican senators and Administration officials claim the Senate health bill’s Medicaid changes won’t leave anyone worse off, but both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and a growing number of state-based analyses are concluding that millions of people all over America would lose their Medicaid coverage due to the huge federal Medicaid funding cuts under both the House and Senate bills.
Senator Pat Toomey, for instance, says Medicaid will “never” be cut under the Senate bill. Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says “we would not have individuals lose coverage.” Flatly contradicting these claims, CBO estimates that the bill would cut federal Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next ten years and reduce Medicaid enrollment by 15 million people in 2026, relative to current law.
And a growing number of states — including Senator Toomey’s state of Pennsylvania — have themselves projected that the Senate bill, like its House-passed counterpart, would lead to huge Medicaid cuts and coverage losses.
CBO earlier estimated that the House-passed bill would cut Medicaid funding by $834 billion and Medicaid enrollment by 14 million. In addition, the Urban Institute estimated that states would have to spend $374 billion more over ten years to maintain their existing Medicaid programs in the face of the House bill’s cuts.
States would have few options for responding to dramatically lower federal funding, as a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report shows. They could raise taxes, cut eligibility, reduce benefits, or cut provider payment rates. But the Medicaid cuts in the Senate and House bills are so large that states would almost certainly have to end expansion coverage and make other cuts in their core Medicaid programs.