The House of Representatives passed an amended version of the American Health Care Act today – May 4, 2017. 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 estimates this would cut Federal expenditures on Medicaid by $880 billion over 10 years. Radically changing Medicaid’s financing structure to fixed federal contribution per beneficiary would both fundamentally alter a state’s financial incentives while at the same time reducing the federal government’s financial commitment to the program over time. As stated in my prior blogs, this and other provisions would most likely result in more restrictive Medicaid here in Ohio for nursing home residents.
The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. It is anticipated that passage in the Senate will require significant changes to the underlying bill. One particularly troubling provision is the repeal of three-month retroactive coverage for Medicaid. A person who has spent down and met all financial eligibility requirements by the end of the month now has an additional 3 months to submit the application. This is simply a allowance for persons to be able to get the paperwork into the Department of Medicaid. With the change, persons will have to rush to get this in or risk losing a month or more of eligibility for which they should quality.