* A House committee took testimony yesterday about the impact of the US House’s Obamacare replacement bill on the state’s Medicaid fund…
Illinois Health and Hospital Association spokesman David Gross testified that Illinois would lose at least $38 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the act’s 10-year lifespan. The association arrived at this figure by taking Illinois’ share of the nation’s Medicaid beneficiaries and multiplying it by the $880 billion in reductions estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office under the Republican plan. Gross said the cuts would jeopardize patient care.
Democratic Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago, who chairs the appropriations committee for human services, said one in four Illinois citizens receives Medicaid benefits and could be affected.
Illinois currently devotes $10 billion in state funds each year to Medicaid, or about one-quarter of the general fund. The federal government matches that amount.
Harris said lawmakers would need to find ways to fill the $4 billion-a-year hole.
Officials pointed to two aspects of the GOP plan that would hurt the state’s Medicaid system. One provision would cap how much the federal government reimburses states, which is different from the current system. States that exceed the cap would be responsible for shouldering the additional costs, something that could prove challenging for cash-strapped Illinois.
The proposal also would freeze Medicaid expansion in 2020. People enrolled before then would be allowed to stay in the program but only if they never leave the program. Anyone who loses coverage starting in 2020 couldn’t re-enroll.
“We know from the data that this is really an end to the expansion, that people circulate off the Medicaid program. And this is not a gentle slope. This is a cliff for the Medicaid program,” said Roberta Rakove, senior vice president for government and public affairs at Sinai Health System.
Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said Thursday that lawmakers also should focus on problems with the Affordable Care Act put in place under Barack Obama when he was president. He cited one portion of the congressional report that said the Republican health care proposal would reduce federal costs and lower the deficit.
Keep in mind, however, that at the moment this thing is “just a bill.” There’s a very long way to go.