CBO: GOP healthcare bill would cut Medicaid by 35 percent over next 20 years

CBO: GOP healthcare bill would cut Medicaid by 35 percent over next 20 years
© Greg Nash

The Senate’s healthcare bill would cut Medicaid spending by 35 percent over the next 20 years, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  

The updated report, which was requested by Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress should elevate those trapped in the gap – support ELEVATE Act IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries IRS waiving penalty for some in first filing season under Trump's tax law MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.) could make the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal effort even more difficult.

Senate Republican leaders are working to revise their legislation in the face of criticism from moderates about its impacts on Medicaid, among other issues. A previous CBO analysis found the bill would result in 15 million people losing Medicaid coverage and cut $772 billion from Medicaid over the next decade.

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The new analysis looks beyond the 10-year window of the original CBO score and analyzes the impact of the bill’s lower cap on Medicaid spending after 2025. According to the CBO, “the differences between spending growth for Medicaid under current law and the growth rate of the per capita caps … would be substantial.”

Senate Democrats immediately used the findings to blast the Republican legislation. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) said the bill is “even worse than we thought.”

“The Senate’s Trumpcare bill would cause people to lose their Medicaid coverage, blow a huge hole in state budgets ... and make it harder for families with a loved one in a nursing home or a disabled child to afford get the care they need,” Schumer said.

The legislation would start out the growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending at the same levels as the House bill but then drop to a lower growth rate that would cut spending more, known as CPI-U, starting in 2025.

According to the CBO, states would take a substantial financial hit under the legislation. States would need to decide “whether to commit more of their own resources, cut payments to health care providers and health plans, eliminate optional services [or] restrict eligibility for enrollment.”