The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report Tuesday, June 6, saying the GOP House health bill would negatively impact Medicaid expansion by shifting costs to states — a move the CBPP said would harm millions, regardless of timing.
But supporters of the bill, including representative Evan Jenkins, said the new bill will give the states the flexibility they require to meet their unique needs. “Under this legislation, West Virginia would have a choice about what will work best for us, and we must make sure the most vulnerable are protected,” he wrote in a statement after the House vote.
Thirty-two states, including the District of Columbia and West Virginia, expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, allowing millions of low-income non-elderly adults to gain access to health care.
The new House bill, known as the American Health Care Act, proposes cutting federal spending on Medicaid by about $834 billion – or a quarter – over the next 10 years, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis.
This cut would shift the burden of paying for Medicaid expansion from the federal government to the states.
“The higher costs would range to 2.5 times more in West Virginia to 4.5 times more in Massachusetts with the cost sharing growing higher each and every year,” said Edwin Park, Vice President for Health Policy at the CBPP in a press call.
He said for West Virginia specifically, the cost for Medicaid expansion would double in just one year after the AHCA’s provisions related to expansion take effect, costing the state about $88 million.
All of West Virginia’s representatives voted for the House Bill.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.