Medicaid Expansion Takes Center Stage in Senate Health Care Debate


Mike Lee, are considering significant cuts to Medicaid that would cause millions of people to lose coverage, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. For years Republicans in the Virginia state legislature have doggedly resisted expanding the Medicaid program that helps provide health care for Virginians who are unable to obtain or afford health insurance. The House bill's potential cuts to the Medicaid program - estimated to clock in at more than $800 million - make the legislation unlikely to win over lawmakers from Medicaid expansion states and pass the Senate. The state "high-risk pools likely covered just a fraction of the number of people with pre-existing conditions who lacked insurance" and who would have to be covered if they lost their Affordable Care Act coverage as a result of a Republican repeal.

But, Blase said, "there's a desire" to include the subsidies in the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed May 4 by the House of Representatives.

With 62 senators, including 20 Republicans, coming from states that expanded their Medicaid coverage under the PPACA, the House's American Health Care Act nearly certainly can't pass the Senate in its present form, the Times notes.

In the House, many conservative lawmakers advocated ending Medicaid expansion before 2020 but were opposed by centrists. Some say the House plan to halt federal funding for new expansion enrollees in 2020 is too harsh and want a longer sunset of the program.

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A total of 62 Senators, including 12 Republicans, hail from states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

"I couldn't support the House bill, because I didn't believe it provided adequate coverage for people who are now being helped by expanded Medicaid", Sen.

The bill now forecasts an $839 billion cut to Medicaid over the next 10 years, according to the CBO. Other governors in some states that chose not expand Medicaid seek to reduce enrollment by imposing more requirements, like drug-testing, benefit time limits and work requirements.