State think tanks issue stark warnings about GOP healthcare bill

State think tanks issue stark warnings about GOP healthcare bill
© Greg Nash

Days before the Republican-led House is set to vote on a measure to repeal ObamaCare, state-based public policy think tanks are warning the legislation will leave residents with red ink and eliminate insurance for hundreds of thousands.

Up to 250,000 Iowans could lose health insurance, according to a report from the Iowa Hospital Association. Medicaid rolls in the state expanded by 154,000 after the Affordable Care Act became law. Those people would be in danger of losing coverage if money for its Medicaid expansion is cut.

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association told lawmakers in capital city Springfield that the GOP plan would cost the state $40 billion in federal funding over the next decade. Illinois is already dealing with a years-long budget stalemate between Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) and Democrats in the Legislature. 

Policy Matters Ohio estimated 700,000 Ohioans would lose coverage under the Republican plan. Gov. John Kasich (R) said on NBC's "Meet The Press" earlier that leaving people uninsured risked “losing the soul of our country.” Kasich’s administration has estimated that covering those who would lose Medicaid would cost the state $1.5 billion a year.

In Colorado, the nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute estimated that 600,000 fewer residents would be covered under the Republican plan than under the Affordable Care Act by 2030. 

Colorado would lose $340 million in federal funding under the GOP's American Health Care Act in 2020. That’s the first year the law imposes cuts to state Medicaid grants. Over the following decade, the state would lose out on about $14 billion in federal funding.

The Oregon Health Authority and the Consumer and Business Services Department said the Republican proposal could cost almost half a million Oregonians their health insurance by 2026 and cost 23,000 healthcare workers their jobs. The report, compiled on orders from Gov. Kate Brown (D), found the state would have to spend $2.6 billion to cover those who qualified for Medicaid expansion between 2020 and 2023.

Liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective estimated that eliminating Medicaid expansion funds would put more than half a million Garden State residents at risk of losing coverage and cost the state about $3 billion annually.

Connecticut’s Office of Management and Policy found the cash-strapped state would have to dole out an additional $539 million in 2020, when Medicaid expansion funds end. After 2020, the replacement bill would cost the state up to $1 billion a year. Those who receive subsidies to help pay for healthcare would see their costs rise an average of $2,155, the analysis found, while subsidy recipients over the age of 60 would see their costs go up more than double that amount.

New York’s state health department estimated that a million state residents would see their coverage impacted, and that the state would face $2.4 billion in annual costs under the replacement plan. 

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the replacement “is exactly what the Trump administration promised that they would not do.” Cuomo singled out Reps. Chris Collins (R) and John Faso (R), who represent upstate districts, while criticizing a provision in the Republican bill that would allow county governments to pass costs on to the state.

“It would be nice if Congressmen Collins and Faso actually tried to help their districts rather than hurt them,” Cuomo said. 

In Vermont, the state hospital association said up to 65,000 residents could lose coverage if Medicaid expansion is rolled back.

The American Hospital Association came out against the Republican measure, along with six other large groups that represent hospitals, earlier his month. The bill “could lead to tremendous instability for those seeking affordable coverage,” the group said.