A Republican proposal in D.C. would cut tens of millions of people off Medicaid. Democratic proposals here in Connecticut could cause tens of thousands of more people to lose health care.
Those twin facts have advocates fighting to save Medicaid — the government health insurance program largely funded by the feds and adminsitered through the state — suddenly working on two fronts at once.
The latest version of the federal effort to undo the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) would eventually eliminate Medicaid coverage for 15 million Americans, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis.
And the latest Democratic proposals to close a $5.1 billion projected deficit in the new two-year state budget call would boot 9,500 recipients — earning 138-155 percent of the federal poverty, or around $22,000 a year for a family of two — from the rolls, and another 39,000 from a separate Medicaid program that makes up the cost gaps (like co-pays) for Medicare, according to New Haven Legal Assistance Association attorney Sheldon Toubman, who has specialized in Medicaid cases for decades.
The state proposal would immediately take $500,000 away from New Haven’s Clifford Beers Clinic, which helps New Haven schoolchildren tackle social and emotional crises, according to Sheryl McNamee, the group’s public affairs director.
Toubman and McNamee joined three other people active in the current state and local Medicaid battles Thursday on an episode of WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program. The other panelists were Derek Thomas of Connecticut Voices for Children, Bonnie Muller of the Friends Center for Children, and Christine Geraci, whose daughter has a rare genetic disorder. (Geraci testified at this New Haven hearing last week; she then saw U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal display her daughter’s picture on the floor of the Senate as part of the pitch to protect Medicaid.)
Several argued that the state should look at not just cutting social programs to close the projected deficit, but also raising revenues, whether through increased taxes on the wealthy or tolls on highways.
Click on or download the above audio file to listen to the program. On the program, WNHH station manager Harry Droz, a Trump loyalist, offered an opposing view about the federal bill.