Health plans slam Medicaid cuts in emerging Senate bill

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Ten of the country’s largest health plans are calling on Senate Republicans to reconsider the Medicaid changes under discussion as part of ObamaCare repeal.

The proposals being discussed “do not enact meaningful, needed repairs to the ACA,” the plans said in a letter to both Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), referring to the Affordable Care Act.

A leading option in the Senate’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace debate is to make even deeper cuts to Medicaid spending than the bill passed by the House. Under the proposal, the federal government would put a cap on its share of Medicaid payments to states beginning in 2020.

The proposal 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, known as CPI-U, starting in 2025. That change would cut spending even more.

“There are no hidden efficiencies that states can use to address gaps of this magnitude without harming beneficiaries or imposing undue burden to our health care system and all U.S. taxpayers,” the health plans wrote.

Democrats and some more moderate Republicans have been warning about Medicaid cuts in the House-passed bill, which reduces Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion over 10 years.

The letter was signed by the CEOs of plans such as Molina, AmeriHealth Caritas, Blue Shield of California, and LA Care. The executives offered to work with senators to improve the Medicaid program, but said “we are united in our opposition to the Medicaid policies currently debated by the Senate.”

Healthcare groups have decried the secretive way the Senate bill has been negotiated, and many have serious, substantive concerns about the emerging legislation. Draft text is expected to be made public later this week, with a vote possible late next week.

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