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Obamacare Repeal Bill Cuts TX Medicaid by $1.5 Billion Per Year

By Peter Clark, Texans Care for Children

There are plenty of reasons to be outraged about the health care repeal bill in Congress.

One of the worst parts of the bill is the provision to end Medicaid as we know it. The plan would establish a Medicaid “per-capita cap,” similar to a block grant.

That’s essentially a backdoor way to permanently cut Medicaid and shift the costs to the states.

Senators are talking about trying to change the House health care bill from outrageously awful to just really awful, but it appears that the Senate is also ready to end Medicaid as we know it.

So how deep would these cuts be?

A recent Urban Institute analysis shows that under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Texas would lose an astonishing $15 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next decade. (See page 11 of the report as well as this summary.)

In other words, the Texas Legislature would have a $1.5 billion annual hole in the state’s health care budget.

Let’s take a moment to put the size of those cuts in context.

One of the biggest fights dominating budget talks this legislative session is how to plug a $2.5 billion hole in the two-year budget, with the House aiming to use a portion of the Rainy Day Fund and the Senate endorsing a new controversial accounting maneuver. Under the Medicaid cuts proposed by the AHCA, Texas lawmakers would face a new $3 billion hole in the two-year state budget in every session legislative.

Or look at the controversy and pain that erupted after the 2015 Texas Legislature cut $171 million per year from Medicaid rates that cover therapies for children with disabilities and developmental delays. If Congress adds another $1.5 billion in annual Medicaid cuts, it would make the devastating therapy cuts look like small potatoes.

But ultimately, this isn’t about numbers. It’s about people – four groups of people to be precise.

Ninety-six percent of Texans enrolled in Medicaid fall into the following four categories: children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pregnant women.

If Congress passes this new Medicaid scheme and forces the Texas Legislature to cut another $1.5 billion from Medicaid every year, that is who our state legislators are going to cut.

And what does Congress plan to do with the money if they cut $1.5 billion from Texas grandmas in nursing homes, toddlers with Down syndrome, fourth graders who need eyeglasses, and pregnant women who need prenatal care?

They’re planning to use most of that money to provide tax breaks to large corporations and wealthy Americans.

Texans deserve better than this. We need our Senators to stand up and protect the health care funding that Texans rely on.