Medicaid, which has provided safety net health care for millions of Americans with low incomes since 1965, pays for medical care for about 75 million people in the U.S., including almost two-thirds of those in nursing homes.
You likely know someone who benefits from Medicaid. It could be someone whose nursing home care is paid by Medicaid, even if that person at one time had retirement savings, a home and a good income.
The costs of long-term care are such that, if a person was not poor when he or she became disabled or old, there’s a good chance that he or she will soon become poor. Medicaid pays for about six million people in nursing homes.
Medicaid also pays for medical care for about 10 million children and adults. You might know a young adult who is covered by Medicaid and who grew up with a diagnosis like cystic fibrosis or kidney disease that made it impossible to work as an adult.
Medicaid accounts for about 17 percent of the nation’s health care expenditures in 2015. In 2015, the government spent about US$532 billion on the program.
President Trump and other GOP leaders not only want to repeal the ACA but also to change Medicaid’s funding mechanism to something called block grants. Trump believes the change will save the federal government billions of dollars, and that could be true.
A study presented Feb. 6 to Congress by Avalere Health, a D.C.-based health care consulting firm, forecast savings of $150 billion by 2022.
But a switch to block grants could also leave millions of poor people without insurance, or it could lead to cutbacks in services they receive. [Read more…]