Fact check: The Senate health care bill's effect on Medicaid

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said there are no cuts to Medicaid.

ByABC News
June 28, 2017, 10:12 AM

— -- Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway insisted this week that the Senate GOP health care bill does not include cuts to Medicaid.

Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the health care proposal would not cause Medicaid recipients to lose their health coverage. The government "would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks," he noted. "We would not pull the rug out from under anybody.”

President Donald Trump promised during his campaign that he would not touch Medicaid, the federal health care program for lower-income Americans. This group includes expected mothers, children, seniors and disabled individuals. According to an April report from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), nearly 70 million individuals are currently enrolled in Medicaid.

But does the Senate Republican health care bill actually cut Medicaid funding and coverage?

While the estimated government spending on Medicaid would increase under the Senate health care bill gradually over time, it will spend less each year on the program than what the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, currently allots.

If Obamacare remains intact, the government would spend an estimated $415 billion next year on Medicaid, and $624 billion by the year 2026, according to the review of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

If the Senate bill is passed and goes into effect in 2018, the government would spend an estimated $403 billion on Medicaid that fiscal year. That number increases to $466 billion by the year 2026, according to the CBO.

The CBO also estimated that federal spending on Medicaid from now until 2026 would be $772 billion less than what is projected to be spent under the current law. The Senate bill, however, leads to more government spending on Medicaid in that amount of time than the House GOP bill.

The CBO's latest analysis was done using its March 2016 baseline.

States that opted into Medicaid expansion under the ACA by March 2017 would see government funding reduced starting in 2021.

The bill phases out funding at a lower rate for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare by 2024.

If the current version of the Senate GOP bill becomes law, states can choose whether to receive funds by a per capita cap, determined by the number of people enrolled, or a block grant.

The CBO report makes one thing clear: the amount of federal revenues collected and the amount of spending on Medicaid “would almost surely both be lower than under current law," and the number of uninsured people under the Senate health care bill “would almost surely be greater than under current law.”

Under the GOP bill, Medicaid would see 15 million fewer enrollees over the next decade, the CBO said. Enrollment would decline from two groups – people who are currently eligible for Medicaid and people who, under the ACA, would be eligible in the future as more states continue to expand Medicaid.

The CBO estimates that almost 40 percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 49, and who earn just above about the national poverty line (approximately $24,000 for an individual), would not have insurance by 2026 under the Senate bill due to the roll back of the Medicaid expansion.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier this week that a vote on the bill would be delayed until after the Fourth of July recess.

Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., one of the senators to publicly oppose the bill, argued that the bill hurts those who benefit from Medicaid, specifically those who need opioid addiction treatment.

“We have a large per capita Medicaid population and we have an enormous and growing opioid issue,” Capito said in an interview on CNN this morning. “And it’s very troubling to me. So it’s important to me they get this right.”

She went on, “I can see in my Medicaid expansion population the availability of treatment and how well it's working both how they're accessing preventative care and their primary care doctors. I want to preserve that. So I think Medicaid does preserve that.”

ABC News' MaryAlice Parks contributed to this report.

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