Sleeper issue of Medicaid’s future could prove health-care plans’ stumbling block

As House Republicans hurtle toward shifting the nation’s health-care system onto a more conservative path, nearly lost so far in the roiling debate over their plans is the profound impact they would have on insurance for the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.

The proposed American Health Care Act would break with the government’s half-century-old compact with states in helping to finance Medicaid, which covers 68 million low-income people, including children, pregnant women and those who are elderly or disabled. The House GOP’s legislation would end the system in which the government pays each state a specific share of all its Medicaid costs and instead would provide a fixed sum for each beneficiary — no matter how much or little of the costs that funding covered.

These stark changes to the underpinning of the nation’s health-care safety net were seldom broached by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel with jurisdiction over Medicaid, as it met for 27 hours straight before approving the legislation last week. But they could prove to be the biggest stumbling block to Republicans’ efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act — especially if the plans move on to the Senate.

– Washington Post

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