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Analysis: Virginia to see big Medicaid cuts under GOP plan

Virginia's Medicaid program stands to lose $1.8 billion over a six-year span under House Republicans' plan to overhaul the nation's health care system, a state analysis has found.

The office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources released a summary of the analysis to The Associated Press late Friday afternoon. It found Virginia's program would see the steep cuts because the Republican plan makes fundamental changes in the way the federal government funds its portion of Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe told AP the Medicaid changes would force Virginia to either raise taxes to pay for health care benefits or kick vulnerable people off of Medicaid, which he says amounts to a "death sentence" in some cases.

The governor called the proposal Donald Trump's "crazy plan" and said, "He has put Virginia in a very untenable position."

As introduced, the proposal would end Medicaid's open-ended entitlement status, moving in fiscal year 2020 to a system of limited federal financing. Washington would pay the states a fixed amount per beneficiary, based on 2016 Medicaid spending in each state, adjusted for medical inflation.

According to the summary of the analysis conducted by the Department of Medical Assistance Services, Virginia's per-enrollee costs are expected to be higher than the per-enrollee allotment through the medical inflation tool. The Medicaid program would lose the $1.8 billion between 2020 and 2026, the analysis found.

Virginia already has some of the strictest Medicaid eligibility standards in the county, and it ranks 47th among other states in terms of per capita Medicaid expenditures.

"This proposal to end the Medicaid program as we know it would lock Virginia into the very lean and mean program that we have currently into perpetuity," Michael Cassidy, president and CEO of The Commonwealth Institute, a Richmond-based fiscal policy analysis group that focuses on issues that impact low-income and middle-class people, said in an interview earlier this week.

McAuliffe has tried unsuccessfully his entire term to convince Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly to expand Medicaid coverage to able-bodied, low-income Virginians.

The federal government had pledged under Obama to pay the bulk of the associated costs, but Republicans said its long-term costs were unsustainable. Virginia and 18 other states refused the expansion.

The House plan is far from finalized. In a report this week that prompted many GOP lawmakers to emerge as opponents, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the legislation would leave 24 million people uninsured in a decade, including 14 million next year, and boost out-of-pocket costs for many.

Sen. Emmett Hanger, a Republican who co-chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said Friday that the governor's predictions of higher taxes or a reduction in services were premature.

He said that while the picture so far isn't good for Virginia, it also doesn't seem like the GOP plan as proposed was gaining much traction in Washington.

"I don't think it will be easy for Congress ... to push through something that will be seen as devastating to the states," Hanger said.

Associated Press writer Alan Suderman contributed to this report.


Fix Medicare $50 billion problem.

Actually, the number is much worse.  I was remembering a report of several years ago.  Apparently Obamacare has caused a rapid escalation of abuse and problem payments.

“Together, Medicare and Medicaid paid out $77.4 billion in improper payments, a 20.4 percent increase over 2013. The programs combined represent about 62 percent of total improper payments government-wide.”  “Medicaid jumped from $14.4 billion in 2013 to nearly $17.5 billion last year.”

Fix Medicaid’s almost $20B problem first.

Exactly, like we have access to membership in Donald Trump’s Country Club but it costs $200,000 to join so do you think you could afford it?

The way Ryan, Price, Trump and others are dissembling, you’d better pay close attention to exactly what they’re saying—not the impression they’re trying to give.

Medicare/Medicaid fraud is undertaken by providers, not individual patients.  Reducing this and most other systemic provider overcharges charges will not be accomplished by reducing benefits to poor and marginal payers like Westernsky.  And Trump isn’t doing the heavy lifting here; he actually promised a better system covering more people.  That’s not what the CBO sees in the current proposal.

Remember “access to” is not equivalent to “being able to” actually buy.

David Dickinson,  Medicare is a significantly larger program than Medicaid.  Most of the fraud in these systems is committed by providers of goods and services, not the recipients or the administration of the plans.  Loopholes and lack of aggressive oversight are hindrances to preventing or catching fraud.  Medicaid is a paltry payer compared to generous Medicare.  The politically unpopular reigning in of Medicare costs and fraud would result in more saving than going after the politically easy ‘‘undeserving’’ Medicaid population.

@loudouncommonsense - the empirical evidence shows that expanded Medicaid INCREASES emergency room visits.  Suggest you look a little deeper.

@DavidDickison is correct.  There is a tremendous amount of Fraud in Medicaid (poor) and Medicare (seniors). 

Again, the local prints the AP story because it’s easy and lacks critical thinking.

Let’s not forget that the current system is broken.  Paying $16,500 a year for my family of 4 in Virginia – plus substantial deductibles – isn’t sustainable either.

It is commonly known that the Medicare/Medicaid debacle is defrauded $50B PER YEAR.  That is correct, as a nation, we pay into a program that flushes $50 BILLION away every year and politicians shrug their shoulders and keep supporting the system.

Glad to see President Trump addressing (by cutting) programs that have a history of fraud, waste, and abuse.  This is just one of many.

loudoun4trump,sterlinglocal and folks with similar perspectives:

You might benefit from looking a bit deeper: without health insurance, people will use the emergency room for medical needs.  The ER will treat them.  Guess who pays?

You and I and other taxpayers wind up paying through higher premiums and higher hospital rates.  Financially, we are going to be better off with an approach than is insurance based, not a system laden with pass throughs and hidden fees that can’t directly be seen and therefore managed.

The headline should read “Trump Voters Dismayed At Loss Of Healthcare, Can’t Connect The Dots.”

Well, it the headline did have “abusers of Medicade” in it, we’d be laughing about the ignorant editor.

Let me give you a tip, SterlingLocal…when your bosses salary has gone up 900% since 1978 and your worker’s wages have stayed steady with buying power declining during that period…well, your problem isn’t illegal immigrants.

the Headline should read, Virginian’s to stop subsidizing illegal immigrants and other abusers of Medicade.

Yes Virginia is not good at identifying or solving problems yet unafraid to make decisions the majority of the house thinks is right at the time without analysis. Examples: Gave away Dulles Airport to federal government, steals well over $500 million in sales tax receipts intended to support schools per year from Loudoun and Fairfax, refused federal donation of hundreds of millions for Medicare expansion during last election and refuses to force VDOT to even do its minimum road support or provisioning. Do people realize how absurd it is to continue to allow Virginia to stay a “Dillon” state? Has either Governor candidate spoken to these REAL ISSUES? This is what partisanship without honesty in resolving important issues gets us.
Bob O__ Esq.

I nominate Loudoun4Trump as “Humanitarian of the Year”  Instant Karma is going to get you.

Good news, the government is attempting to be fiscally responsible, now this is major news…wait a minute, we need a few stories on the people that will be dying in the streets b/c of this, the children who will suffer, and on and on…

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