‘The block grants and the cuts they’re looking at are a very scary thought.’
ST. ALBANS — In Franklin County alone, 10,240 Medicaid enrollees would lose benefits and coverage under the proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill, according to The Century Foundation.
This amounts to one in five county residents, using 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data.
Locally, health care providers are expressing concern about the impacts of cuts proposed by Republicans in Congress. “My worry is that we’re going to go back in time,” said Janet McCarthy, executive director of Franklin County Home Health.
After writing the proposal behind closed doors, a group of Republican senators unveiled a draft health care bill Thursday afternoon, referred to as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would overhaul the ACA and make deep cuts to Medicaid.
Medicaid is a jointly funded, federal-state health insurance program that provides health coverage to one in five Americans, including children, pregnant women, seniors and individuals with disabilities.
The Senate bill resembles in many ways the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which cuts Medicaid by $834 billion over a decade, with a loss of 14 million beneficiaries nationwide, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The American Health Care Act was passed in May.
“For weeks, [Senate] Republicans have been drafting their ‘health care’ bill in secret, refusing to hold hearings or public debate,” said Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a written statement. “Now we know why. The bill Republicans announced today is even worse than expected and by far the most harmful piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime.”
For more on how the proposed Medicaid cuts would impact local patients and health care providers, pick up a copy of the weekend Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.