Underhanded scheme would steal care for potentially millions of Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) blasted a plan unveiled by the Trump administration to destabilize Medicaid and steal health care from the hands of millions of Americans.

“This is one of the most cynically fiendish schemes I’ve ever seen in government,” said Rep. Pascrell, a strong critic of Republicans’ decade of attacks on Medicaid and the ACA. “Trump’s name for this measure, the so-called ‘Healthy Adult Opportunity,’ is an Orwellian fable, conjured up by the most shameless pack of liars to ever occupy the executive branch. Right this minute, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are seeking to obliterate the entire ACA and protections for preexisting conditions while claiming to protect them. Trump has promised to dismantle Medicare, after vowing he would not.  But this arson isn’t enough, and they want to destroy Medicaid while simultaneously purporting to save it.

Sign Up for Hawthorne Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“The expansion of Medicaid by the ACA is one of the great success stories of government in action in the last 50 years. Despite the vicious, decade-long obstructionism of Republicans, it has saved at least 19,000 older low-income adult lives from 2014 to 2017 and bestowed reliable health care on some of the neediest of our neighbors. Rejected in their attempts to invalidate the ACA at the ballot box and at the courthouse, Republicans are now trying to do it by fiat of the most corrupt chief executive in U.S. history. They must fail. But the terrifying stakes endure. Republicans are singularly dedicated to stealing health care away from as many Americans as they can,” concluded Pascrell.

The Trump administration’s attempt to cut Medicaid by allowing states to convert federal funding into a block grant represents a dangerous fundamental shift in the Medicaid program. States currently receive the federal portion of their Medicaid program funds based on per capita incomes, services provided, hospital costs, and whether the state has expanded Medicaid. Block granting this system would force states to limit access to care, which flies in the face of the very purpose of Medicaid.

Between 2014 and 2017, Medicaid expansion saved the lives of at least 19,200 older low-income adults. In that same time period in states that did not expand Medicaid, about 15,600 lives were lost because of those states’ decision not to expand. In New Jersey, about 828 lives were saved because of the state’s smart decision to expand Medicaid under the ACA.

Additionally, compared to non-expansion states, housing evictions fell 20% in states that expanded Medicaid. Also, compared to non-expansion states, the one-year mortality rate from end-stage renal disease saw a 10% reduction in expansion states. In the same comparison, expansion states saw a 3% reduction in cardiovascular deaths. Medicaid expansion increased admissions to treatment facilities where patients received medication assisted treatment (MAT), the gold standard treatment for opioid use disorder, by about 50 percent.