How the GOP health-care plan could gut the Medicaid expansion

At first glance, Congressional Republicans’ proposed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act appears to protect coverage for those insured under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. But the plan is actually likely to gut the expansion in a few years, according to Benjamin Sommers of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In a March 9, 2017 opinion piece in The Washington Post, Sommers, associate professor of health policy and economics, outlined several “insidious” aspects of the Republicans’ proposal that could shrink the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

For instance, after 2019, anyone on Medicaid who has more than a one-month gap in their health coverage will lose eligibility for the currently generous 90% federal funding that the ACA currently provides. Since Medicaid recipients frequently move in and out of coverage—because of job losses or changes, seasonal work, or changes in family circumstances—the Republican proposal effectively means that Medicaid-eligible individuals may not be able to afford coverage once they lose it for any reason.

In addition, enrolling and retaining Medicaid coverage would become more difficult under the Republican proposal.

“Medicaid expansion remains squarely in the crosshairs, even if this time the hunters are camouflaged,” Sommers wrote.

Read Sommers’ opinion article in The Washington Post: The GOP health-care plan would quietly kill the Medicaid expansion. Here’s how.