New remarks from President Trump are now suggesting that the Affordable Care Act won’t see an immediate repeal or replacement until well into the next year. While that may be great news for some, for others it’s simply a Band-Aid over a growing battle among the ACA, the American people, and their leaders.
At any moment, the ACA could be repealed and replaced, regardless of what’s publicly uttered by the Trump Administration. That flip of the switch could manifest itself in many different ways, with many different changes. Among the significant changes that could be made to the ACA (and with the most conflicting opinions) is that pertaining to Medicaid.
The love/hate relationship between the GOP and Medicaid is real. In one way, Medicaid is a godsend, where those who can’t afford healthcare are able to have some form of assistance. Without it, emergency rooms in hospitals are flooded with low or no income sick patients with no real means to cover their hospital bills. When President Obama initiated a Medicaid Expansion as part of his healthcare reform, many GOP governors took umbrage to the move. Ultimately, the Supreme Court weighed in leaving Medicaid Expansion up to the states to decide.
Thirty one states thus far have expanded their Medicaid platforms; 16 of them are with Republican governors. That’s not to say all are in favor of expanding the platform; some simply see the utility of it. Take West Virginia, where a KFF study found that 30% of West Virginians are on Medicaid; that’s over 7% more than the national average of 23.4%.
The study also found that New Mexico has a staggering 40.4% on Medicaid, as Gov. Susanna Martinez wrote a letter to Congress pleading to not include Medicaid expansion as part of the repeal. Arkansas has 39.6%, and while Gov. Asa Hutchinson suggests stricter standards for eligibility (including drug tests), she feels the platform needs more federal funding.
This would inevitably go against Trump’s initial sentiment to have Medicaid funds capped in an effort to develop more platforms where Americans would have to earn their healthcare or simply save their own money to fund it. Ohio Governor and Former Presidential candidate John Kasich has been extremely vocal in maintaining Medicaid Expansion, as it has been a saving grace for his state.
With the 700,000 Ohioans receiving Medicaid, many have utilized the platform to battle drug addictions to narcotics like opioids. Further, providing new healthcare to people has helped residents of Ohio receive treatment for previously undiagnosed medical conditions. In many ways, Medicaid Expansion has saved their lives.
However, not all states are on board with the benefits to Medicaid. Florida Governor Rick Scott has been for Trump and against Medicaid, citing the need to remove mandates for all Floridians to have healthcare and flexibility with platforms like Medicaid in general. It’s no coincidence that Florida has suffered greatly with Medicaid rejection, as South Florida hospitals have taken huge hits with the growing uninsured and will continue to do so if healthcare is merely seen as an option and not a requirement.
Other Governors like Utah’s Gov. Gary Hubert have conflicting views on Medicaid. Hubert opted for expansion, but was voted down and has since been in support of Medicaid block grants with flexible spending, which could be a blessing or a curse to those participating. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is for both an ACA repeal and Medicaid block grants as well, expressing that the funding will go where it needs to go.
In the interest of Medicaid and its expansion, the GOP remains divided. Many see the utility in all of it, while some only see the utility in parts of it.
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