INDIANAPOLIS – An analysis delivered privately to governors during the National Governors Association conference this past weekend outlines potential cuts in federal Medicaid funding to individual states under the latest U.S. Senate proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Published online by POLITICO, the study conducted and presented by the consulting firm Avalere Health found Indiana’s federal Medicaid funds would decline by $36.5 billion by 2036.
Trump administration officials in attendance, including Medicaid administrator Seema Verma, reportedly urged governors not accept the findings, which in Indiana would mean state lawmakers would need to find tens-of-billions of dollars over the next two decades, without changing Medicaid eligibility, benefits or raising taxes, to help the roughly one in five Hoosiers currently covered by Medicaid.
“Part of the reason I’m not weighing in, these figures change by the day and by the hour,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday during a stop in Fort Wayne.
“We will definitely weigh in and share our analysis on a bill when I’m confident it will A. be scored and B. be scheduled for a vote and be voted on,” Holcomb said. “And right now I don’t want to chase rabbits and throw out speculation.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a scheduled vote this week on the Senate bill after Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) underwent emergency surgery Friday, keeping him out of Washington all week.
Broadly the proposed Medicaid cuts are what have some key Republicans worried.
“This bill would impose fundamental, sweeping changes in the Medicaid program,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday. “This would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including disabled children, poor seniors.”
Yet supporters of the proposed changes to Medicaid, like Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) who serves as vice chair of the House Budget Committee, said the reform would restore Medicaid to its original goal, a move he will lobby to keep.
“I think the General Assembly, local leaders here in the state of Indiana - Gov. Holcomb – can better decide than any federal bureaucrat who really needs that health care,” Rokita said. “Which is what Medicaid is supposed to be – health care for poor, not health care for the middle class, which Obamacare has turned it into.”
A number of key Republicans remain undecided in their vote, including Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.). A spokesperson for Young declined Monday to elaborate on his specific concerns or deliberations as pressure mounts on Senate Republicans to take a stance ahead of a vote, a date that is now yet to be determined.