Save-Medicaid Fight Waged On 2 Fronts

Thomas Breen PhotoA 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.


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posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on June 29, 2017  1:09pm

If tolls would actually close the gap, I would be willing to consent.

posted by: Noteworthy on June 29, 2017  1:17pm

There is either real ignorance or a dishonesty re: Medicaid. It doesn’t need to be saved - it’s not in danger of going away. That’s an emotional play to get people riled but it’s also untrue.

The real question is about the sustainability of Medicaid. It cannot maintain its current trajectory. It will break the country and consume greater and greater percentages of the total budget. Anybody who says they want to save Medicaid but refuses to address or can’t the reforms that are needed should not be advocating for saving Medicaid.

And finally - Medicaid was racially expanded to accomodate the ACA and now the premiums despite that history making level of welfare, cannot keep premiums at affordable levels. Alaska is raising rates by 216% - others by 100% in one year. Here in Connecticut, rates will rise next year from 15 to 35%.  Premiums have already gone up by 100%. Who can afford that?

The news always covers the screamers and those who want to “save” Medicaid. They never cover the realities of Medicaid or the premium affordability. And that goes for all of our politicians who like to pose and preen on the issue and never ever have one single constructive thing to offer as an alternative.

posted by: OhHum on June 29, 2017  2:29pm

If you look at the European model of healthcare for the U.S.A., it would necessitate an increase in the tax rate for the middle class to around 45% of gross income. For people making over $150,000 a year the rate would rise to around 60%+. The young who are protesting for single payer would need to be willing to give up 45% or more of their income. We couldn’t get them to buy into Obamacare which would have been much less. Social Welfare programs just aren’t free, unless you’re poor. We tried “free” healthcare for veterans through the Veterans Administration. You can answer how that worked out for yourself. Our government has a difficult time running itself. Do you really want it to run your healthcare too?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 29, 2017  5:49pm

I can fix this.Give us the same health care the politicians in Washington have.We pay for it.