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Older Americans Need to Be on Alert as House Passes Amended American Health Care Act
Many seniors and those with disabilities need Medicaid to cover home care costs, which allow them to remain in their own homes while receiving care. If the American Health Care Act becomes law, what impact will it have on seniors?
Today, the House of Representatives passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act. Beyond reforming the health insurance system, the legislation would turn Medicaid’s financing structure to a fixed federal contribution per beneficiary. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates this would cut Federal expenditures on Medicaid by $880 billion over 10 years.
If the CBO is correct that federal expenditures will be significantly cut, which services will be cut for needy seniors and individuals with disabilities? Can the individual States afford to finance the federal cuts?
As presently drafted, the American Health Care Act will radically change Medicaid’s financing structure to fixed federal contribution per beneficiary. This would both fundamentally alter a state’s financial incentives, while concurrently, reducing the federal government’s financial commitment to the program over time.
The bill is very complicated and it is important that we make our own conclusions based on what is factually accurate and not speculative.
The Legislation Now Moves to The Senate for Consideration.
As a Past President and Co-founder of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), I am pleased that NAELA will continue to provide technical expertise to the Senate, focusing on the negative impact of provisions. These include the repeal of three-month retroactive coverage for Medicaid, and ending a state’s right to expand home equity as a countable asset above the federal minimum.
In addition, NAELA has begun developing resources to deal with potential moves by states and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to restrict access to the Medicaid program using Section 1115 demonstration waivers.
For more information, please visit www.NAELA.org.
As citizens of America, our voices must be heard by our elected officials to ensure that we as a country take care of our frail and vulnerable seniors and those with disabilities. Stay tuned for another update.
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