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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

22 Million People Would Lose Coverage under Senate Health Bill, CBO Says

June 29, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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The Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act will result in huge reductions of Medicaid coverage and funding, according the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis released this week. The Senate health bill, entitled the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA), is projected to roll back coverage for 22 million Americans, including 15 million who would lose Medicaid coverage, and cut $772 billion dollars from Medicaid, shifting the burden of health care costs to states. A vote on this legislation is expected after the July 4th recess, giving advocates more time to urge their Senators to “vote NO” on this harmful bill.

CBO Score on AHCA

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score released Monday projects that in the next ten years, 15 million people would lose Medicaid coverage under BRCA – this is more than the number who gained Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. If this bill passes, 15 million people who rely on Medicaid will not get the care they need, including millions for whom Medicaid provides treatment for substance use disorders or mental illness. Additionally, the CBO report projects an overall cost savings of $321 billion, nearly all of which is achieved by slashing Medicaid funding by 26% and severely reducing its enrollment.

Given the extreme funding cuts proposed for Medicaid, the National Council said, “Instead of “repeal and replace,” [the Senate bill] is “wreck and wreak havoc.” Read more about National Council’s position on the Senate health bill here.

Looking beyond the next 10 years, CBO explains that the gap between Medicaid spending under current law and under this bill would grow even larger starting in 2025, when a smaller growth rate would be applied to future federal matching payments for all Medicaid populations. CBO also estimates that much of the Medicaid coverage loses would come from single, childless adults who gained coverage for the first time under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion has been the only pathway to coverage for millions of childless adults living with addiction and mental illness. Read more about Medicaid expansion’s impact on behavioral health here.

Speak Out to Save Medicaid

The Senate has delayed their vote on this bill as a direct result of constituent outreach and advocacy, but the fight is not over. When the Senate resumes on July 10th, Senate leaders are expected to work quickly to reschedule the vote. Advocates should use this time to book a meeting, call, or write their Senators and urge them to vote NO on the BRCA. Do you have 5 minutes to take action? Find out how here.