The Republican budget plan that recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives would decimate health care funding in states across the country, according to reports released Tuesday.
States would lose more than $2.75 trillion during the next decade in federal funding for Medicaid and Medicare programs and for middle-class tax credits. The cuts would range from $5.3 billion in Wyoming to $303.8 billion in California. In Kansas, the cost would be $18.8 billion.
“The House Republican budget not only slashes funding to the states, it would decimate health coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, children and middle class families. It would force seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for Medicare coverage, and it would take away their ability to afford needed medicines,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a national consumer health group, which released the reports and says it is nonpartisan.
He said the proposal would end the Medicaid and Medicare programs as they exist and would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010. The Medicare system would be replaced with a voucher-based premium support system for beneficiaries born after 1957. It also would eliminate Medicare coverage for 65- and 66-year-olds.
Here’s a look at how much federal funding Kansas would lose during the next 10 years under the GOP budget plan:
• $5.3 billion — for Medicaid program that serves about 340,000 low-income elderly, children and disabled residents.
• $4.6 billion — for expansion of Medicaid program. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid eligibility would be expanded to include anyone who earned 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less. The GOP budget plan eliminates the expansion.
• $6.9 billion — in tax credit dollars. The Affordable Care Act provides significant tax credit subsidies for middle-class families so that they can better afford health care coverage. The budget plan eliminates those subsidies.
• $1.9 billion — for Medicare program. Among the Medicare cuts would be eliminating help for seniors who fall into the coverage gap for prescription drugs, commonly called the doughnut hole. Currently under the Affordable Care Act, seniors who fall into the gap receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs. In 2011, 40,900 Kansans fell into the coverage gap but received an average $610 through the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. The gap would ultimately be eliminated under ACA, but the GOP budget plan would completely reopen it.
The budget proposal was introduced by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and was passed March 29 on a near party-line vote of 228-191. Kansas Reps. Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder and Mike Pompeo voted in support of the plan, while Tim Huelskamp voted against it.
The Senate will now decide whether to adopt the budget or not. Pollack said most people think it will not pass the Senate because the majority of its members are Democratic, and no House Democrat voted for the bill.
“It may very well be that because we are in an election year, gridlock will continue throughout the course of this calendar year, and we may not have major changes with respect to the budget,” Pollack said.
To view the reports, visit familiesusa.org.