1:37pm

Thu May 12, 2011
Healthcare

Impact of Proposed Federal Medicaid Cuts

A new report finds that several proposals to cut back Medicaid, including the House Republican budget plan passed last month – would leave up to 44 million more low-income people without health insurance. 

 Besides low-income families, the proposed changes threaten long term care for seniors and people with disabilities.  The study was conducted by two nonpartisan groups, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute.  They looked at the combined impact of repealing President Obama’s health care law, and converting Medicaid into a program that would issue block grants to states.  Under that scenario, states would get a limited sum of money to fund their Medicaid programs. 

Additionally, the proposal would reduce states’ Medicaid funding by more than a third over 10 years, although it would be left to the states to determine exactly who or what would be the target of the cuts.

“It would mean that states could very significantly alter their eligibility standards and enrollment procedures - with the potential that lots of people who are now getting coverage and help through the Medicaid program would lose it,” says Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, a nonpartisan healthcare consumer group. 

In Colorado, more than 136,000 seniors and people with disabilities who depend on Medicaid – which is the largest payer of nursing home care – would be at risk.  Nearly 60% of Coloradans in nursing homes receive coverage through the Medicaid program.  Pollack says the average annual cost of a semi-private nursing home room in the state was more than $72,000 in 2010.