Providers: Republicans' ACA replacement bill would 'destroy' Medicaid system

Parkinson: Providers are "disappointed" with the Medicaid cuts included in the bill.
Parkinson: Providers are "disappointed" with the Medicaid cuts included in the bill.

The Medicaid program would sustain major cuts under legislation presented by Republican lawmakers as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, according to provider groups.

The bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act by House Republicans, was presented Monday. The legislation would “fundamentally destroy the Medicaid program as we know it,” according to Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge.

Medicaid is currently the “most important source of financing” for long-term care, she added. Medicaid currently funds more than 60% of all long-term care costs.

The GOP plan would allow states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA to receive full federal funding through the beginning of 2020. Funding would then be reduced for beneficiaries not in the program before that date. States that did not expand Medicaid would receive $10 billion over the span of five years under the new bill.

The legislation would also move the program to a per capita cap system, with states receiving a set amount of funding per beneficiary. While it's uncertain how much the per capita system would cut down on Medicaid spending, experts have estimated the caps could take away $110 billion in reimbursements over five years.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association said in a statement that his members are “disappointed” about the potential cuts, since current Medicaid funding already leaves providers underfunded by $22.46 per day — or a total of $7 billion annually.

“The bill released [Monday] will sharply reduce Medicaid funds across the board for all beneficiaries, making it harder than ever to maintain access to care for the most vulnerable in our society,” Parkinson said. “More than one million individuals call nursing centers their home and most rely on Medicaid for their care. This bill will cut Medicaid funding for seniors and individuals with disabilities, jeopardizing access to the care they need.

Sloan added the bill “threatens our rapidly aging population with the loss of coverage for the health and long-term care seniors need.”

“It is the wrong policy at the wrong time,” she wrote.

The repeal bill will also allow insurers to charge older insurance customers five times as much as younger ones, compared to three times the prices under the ACA. To see a breakdown of what parts of the ACA the new bill will keep, change or repeal entirely, check out this feature from the New York Times.