On February 16, 2017, Republicans released their latest proposal outlining their ideas to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This proposal radically changes the Medicaid program by capping the amount states will receive in federal funding to deliver healthcare to low-income individuals. These capped proposals, either block grants or per-capita allotments, aim to catastrophically cut Medicaid and eliminate important consumer protections currently in place.
States will be forced to make difficult choices regarding what services they can deliver and what populations they will be able to serve, placing increased pressures on state budgets. Crucial programs that allow seniors to age at home rather than receiving care in institutional settings are at risk.
This latest replacement proposal does not come close to the improved coverage and affordability offered through the ACA for older adults. The plan will increase the cost of care and limit access to health care for older adults, especially low-to-middle income older adults. Specifically, the plan decreases tax credits, reintroduces high-risk pools for the most sick, and increases the availability of health savings accounts that provide little benefit for low to middle income consumers.
Justice in Aging has developed a new fact sheet showing how cuts to Medicaid through capped Medicaid funding would hurt older adults. For more detailed information on how capped funding would impact older adults, see our issue brief.
Recent months have seen increased discussion of proposals to cap federal Medicaid spending. Under these proposals, the federal government would provide limited funding through either block grants or per capita payments to states, and states would have broad discretion to set their own Medicaid standards.
A new issue brief from Justice in Aging explains how these proposals would harm older Americans. The caps would result in a dramatic reduction in federal funding for Medicaid, and these crippling cuts would be exacerbated by the loss of longstanding federal protections. Potential consequences include loss of services, cutbacks in eligibility, unaffordable health care costs, and diminished quality of care.
The issue brief provides careful analysis of both the “cap” proposals and the protections of existing Medicaid law. Many of the proposals tout the “flexibility” of giving almost complete discretion to states. As the issue brief highlights, however, consumer protections in current Medicaid law are vital to older Americans’ health and financial security.
Non-emergency medical transportation is a critical benefit ensuring that Medicaid beneficiaries have transportation to medical services. This webinar reviewed this increasingly important component of health care for low-income older adults and people with disabilities; explored challenges to accessing the benefit; shared examples of state strategies to overcome those challenges.
One important yet sometimes overlooked protection of the Affordable Care Act is its non-discrimination mandate Section 1557. This critical provision incorporates existing civil rights laws that protect against discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, age, and disability, and applies them directly to the provision and delivery of health care. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released final regulatory guidance on Section 1557 with an effective date of July 18, 2016 for most covered entities.
Join Justice in Aging as we explored how the protections of Section 1557 affect the obligations of Medicare and Medicaid programs and providers serving older adults.
The Cal MediConnect (CMC) program, which created new health plans integrating Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits for dually eligible beneficiaries, has been in effect for over two years in seven California counties. Enrollment data released by DHCS and a recent series of evaluations, including surveys, focus groups, and polling, paint a picture of how the program is performing and how enrollees are faring so far. Read More
- Married same sex couples now have coverage for Medicare and Medicaid under the same rules as opposite-sex married couples.
- Transgender individuals have protection from discriminatory treatment in health care.