Like Obamacare, But Worse: The GOP ACA Healthcare Bill Explained, Part 4

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WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 22: (L-R) House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) attend a House Rules Committee meeting to set the rules for debate and amendments on H.R.1628, the American Health Care Act, on Capitol Hill, March 22, 2017 in Washington. A vote on the Republican-led health care bill is tentatively scheduled for Thursday in the House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Medicaid Language

3. The bill slightly changes the languages of caps on Medicaid – using “block grants” instead of “per capita caps” as I discussed a couple of weeks ago. But do not misunderstand – in either form, these terms place a limit on what the federal government would give states to care for its Medicaid population. No such limit currently exists.

If a state has an unusually high population of elderly people who need to use Medicaid to pay their nursing home bills, the federal government currently sends the state more money to help pay for those residents’ care than they would in a year in which a smaller number of Medicaid patients were in nursing homes. But “block grants” would give a set amount of money to each state, no matter what situation their citizens are in. If the costs for a particular year run dramatically higher than the block grant amount, the state would need to find that money somewhere. Or maybe figure out a way to kick people off Medicaid.

(And remember, Medicaid recipients are not just poor adults. You’re talking disabled children and adults, pregnant women and newborns, and elderly people in nursing homes.)

4. I’ll just copy this text from the Consumerist article linked here:

"“A mysterious $75 billion: Nobody is actually sure what it does or how, and that’s not us being facetious. The money is simply being set aside and the bill will “instruct the Senate” to come up with a plan to use it in some way to help people between the ages of 50 and 64. Right now, there’s no actual plan.”"

The lawmakers are clearly not happy that people have caught on that their proposal would make older Americans pay much, much more for their health insurance under their bill. So they’ve included $75 billion, but have provided….no details about what they’ll do with that or how they will help older people afford their drastically higher premiums.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 7: A copy of the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is show during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol March 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. House Republicans yesterday released details on their plan to replace the ACA, or Obamacare, with a more conservative agenda that includes individual tax credits and grants for states replacing federal insurance subsidies. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

For what it’s worth, I am flabbergasted with how bad this piece of legislation is. I may be a liberal and an ACA enrollee, but I certainly do not think the ACA is perfect or that Republicans are incapable of coming up with competent reforms. The ACA needs some changes, and of course I’m not going to agree with every proposal that a Republican government will come up with.

But this law – a law that is projected to throw 24 million people off of their policies, that will give me a tax break I don’t currently receive (or need) while cutting the subsidies of low-income 62-year-olds by almost $10,000 a year, and that projects to cap the amount of money that the state will be able to pay for your great-grandma to stay in her nursing home – is staggeringly bad. It’s breathtakingly cruel.

Next: 35 Reasons We Need Obamacare

It should not pass. And I am saying that as an ACA enrollee who would do better financially under this legislation. This bill should not pass. Please call your representatives today.