Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who enjoys being a critic of Republican President Donald Trump, doesn’t relish what will happen when Republicans get rid of parts of Obamacare.
Even in Connecticut, which explored setting up its own universal health care system prior to Obamacare, there is no money in the state budget to cover the expanded low-income population under federal government’s Medicaid program.
As far as Medicaid is concerned, there’s about $1 billion in federal funding at risk in Connecticut.
Malloy said Monday that Republican governors, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are making it clear what would happen in their state if a Republican Congress and Trump get rid of Medicaid expansion.
House Republicans have drafted a plan that calls for a rollback of the Medicaid expansion and a phase-out of federal subsidies to help low-income individuals purchase insurance.
Kasich went on the national Sunday talk shows and said he would continue to oppose that route.
Malloy, who was in Washington to hear Trump’s remarks Monday at the National Governors Association meeting, said he thinks the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives are pretty much in line on getting rid of Medicaid expansion.
“It’s clear that the Republican plan at least at the House and the presidential level, those two levels, is to gut Medicaid,” Malloy said.
He said they plan to eliminate as many as 30 to 40 percent of the people who currently qualify for the program. He said that’s in exchange for “flexibility,” but there’s “no amount of flexibility that would cover that 35 percent.”
Malloy believes the House Republicans proposal, which seems to be backed by Trump, who also hinted he may release his own plan, would die in the Senate.
If the House Republican plan is adopted, it means a large number of Connecticut residents, who gained coverage in 2010 when former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell was the first to take advantage of Medicaid expansion, will become uninsured.
There are nearly 765,000 individuals in Connecticut enrolled in Medicaid. This includes over 213,000 in the Medicaid “expansion” portion, according to the Department of Social Services.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government covered 100 percent of the costs of those expansion plans between 2014 and 2016. The cost share would have decreased over the next few years under the ACA, but under the Republican proposal it would go back down to 50 percent for the poorest Connecticut residents.
The working poor, who hover just above the poverty line and were covered under the expansion program, would no longer receive coverage. It’s probable that they also wouldn’t be able to purchase insurance, even with the subsidy proposals being discussed by Republicans. Instead of income, Republicans have proposed using age in order to calculate a tax subsidy.
States will likely receive about $30 billion less in premium tax credits under the Republican proposal, according to a report from Avalere Health that was prepared for the NGA meeting.
“Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” Trump told the governor’s Monday.
He went onto say that Americans love Obamacare now because they’re being told it’s coming to an end.
“There’s nothing to love. It’s a disaster, folks, okay? So you have to remember that,” Trump said.
Republicans know that once they make changes to the ACA, they own it and all of its consequences. It’s a reality Trump acknowledged in his remarks to the governor’s Monday.
Malloy said Trump’s speech to the NGA in which he started outlining some of what’s expected to be in his address to Congress Tuesday was “not the most encouraging stuff I’ve ever heard.”
He said he expects based on what he heard Monday that Trump is going to call for an increase in national security and defense spending, cut social programs, and make tax cut pronouncements that will spark a trade war.