The GOP has decided to keep the existing benefits for Medicare, but instead plans to target a government program that provides health care to the poor — Medicaid.
With ObamaCare extending health coverage to millions of people who weren’t able to qualify, Medicaid has grown in the past years. But the program’s growing cost has urged Republicans to provide the states with money in the form of “block grants.”
Block grants would limit federal Medicaid funds to a strict amount given to each state, as opposed to the current federal commitment which is more lenient.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in an interview with ABC this month that the GOP plans to keep Medicare as it is, while trying to change Medicaid. Mike Pence stated:
‘I think President-elect Trump made it very clear in the course of the campaign that, as president, we’re going to keep our promises in Social Security and Medicare.
‘With regard to Medicaid, though, I will tell you, there’s a real opportunity, there’s a real opportunity as we repeal and replace ObamaCare to do exactly what the president-elect also said on the campaign, and that is block granting Medicaid back to the states.’
Pence also added policies that would require Medicaid enrollees to pay a small monthly contribution towards their coverage into a health savings account.
Seema Verna, Trump’s nominee to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has helped Pence develop changes to the Medicaid program.
A sister proposal, advocated by the GOP, called “per capita caps” would limit federal spending on each Medicaid enrollee individually, rather than overall.
Democrats on the other hand argue the block grants or the per capita caps would eventually lead to harmful cuts to Medicaid, which would cause people to lose their health care.
According a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the House Republican budget in 2012, which called for block grants for Medicaid. The analysis discovered the plan would cause between 14 million and 21 million people to lose their health insurance.
Gene Sperling, former Obama White House adviser, wrote in a New York Times op-ed this week urging Democrats to shift their attention towards the “quieter war on Medicaid.”
‘If Democrats focus too much of their attention on Medicare, they may inadvertently assist the quieter war on Medicaid — one that could deny health benefits to millions of children, seniors, working families and people with disabilities,’
Video of Mike Pence full interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC news below:
Featured Images provided by Getty Images