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The U.S. Senate’s Health Care Bill Would Decimate Life-Saving Medicaid Benefits for Pennsylvania Older Adults, People with Disabilities, and Children

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The U.S. Senate’s Health Care Bill Would Decimate Life-Saving Medicaid Benefits for Pennsylvania Older Adults, People with Disabilities, and Children

Date Posted: 
06/23/2017

Yesterday, the United States Senate introduced their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The so-called “Better Care Reconciliation Act” would decimate Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program.

The Senate bill includes devastating funding cuts for the traditional Medicaid program, which covers children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities.  In fact, the Senate bill cuts Medicaid even more than the House bill does.  The cuts would lead to the loss of billions of dollars in federal funding for Pennsylvania, forcing the Commonwealth to cut services and enrollment.

The Senate bill would also roll back Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians.  Compared to the health care bill passed by the United States House of Representatives in May 2017, it would reduce federal funding for Medicaid expansion slightly more slowly.  Nonetheless, the end result would be the same:  the working families in Pennsylvania who rely on expanded Medicaid to stay healthy would be left uninsured within just a few years.

Without adequate federal funding, Pennsylvania’s ability to pay for services that allow older adults to live independently in their homes would be at risk, and cuts to reimbursement rates could reduce quality of care in nursing homes.  Pennsylvania would have less money to pay for speech or physical therapy for children with disabilities.  Fewer dollars would be available to fund treatment programs that combat Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis, or to fight public health crises like the Zika virus.

Kristen Dama, a Supervising Attorney at Community Legal Services, said, “The Senate health care bill is an attack on children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities.  It will have devastating consequences for people who need Medicaid to live independent, healthy lives.”

On Monday, June 26, 2017, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will release its score of the Senate bill.  The CBO found that the similar House bill would result in 14 million fewer Medicaid enrollees nationally by 2026.

Community Legal Services calls on Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey to stand up for Pennsylvania families by opposing devastating cuts to Medicaid and voting “no” on the Senate bill.