May 16, 2023
The debt ceiling could hit as early as June 1, 2023 and there is a showdown between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill about how to solve this problem. The House Republicans won’t increase the debt ceiling without cuts to Federal spending. However, one of the proposed ways to cut spending is to impose a new requirement on the Medicaid program by requiring the beneficiaries to prove that they are working. There are other ways spending could be reduced without impacting many of the most vulnerable Americans.
Today President Biden assigned senior White House staff to negotiate with Speaker McCarthy’s office to come to agreement on a package to raise the debt ceiling. Raising the compromise to a higher level is very good news but cuts to the Medicaid program are still on the table.
What’s at stake?
Health-related non-profits who represent patients, the rare disease community, the disability community, and children’s hospitals disagree with this change/cut to the Medicaid system because the impact could be devastating. The cuts could put millions of Americans at risk including seniors in nursing homes. The Kaiser Family Foundation says as of 2021, there are 25 million adults aged 19-64 enrolled in Medicaid. 43 percent are working full time, and 18 percent are working part time. The national labor force is about the same at 61% if you consider only those individuals that are of working age.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that work requirements for the Medicaid program in House Republicans’ bill would save the government $109 billion. However, the CBO analysis found the bill would not result in any more people working. “The agency concludes that the amendment would have a negligible effect on employment status or hours worked by people who would be subject to the work requirements,” the CBO said. “Federal costs would decrease, the number of people without health insurance would increase, the employment status of and hours worked by Medicaid recipients would be unchanged, and state costs would increase,” the agency concluded. Those savings would essentially come from people getting dropped from Medicaid, either because they can’t or don’t meet reporting requirements.
Most Americans with health coverage through Medicaid are already working – if they can. This type of change to the Medicaid system was tried and failed in Arkansas. The track record shows work reporting requirements are a bureaucratic nightmare and won’t result in more people working. The result will be more people uninsured.
WHAT CAN I DO?
If you don’t want to see our most vulnerable population lose their health coverage AND you don’t want to see your state have to pick up the costs the federal government will no longer pay call your Senator and deliver this message. A U.S. Capitol Switchboard operator can connect you directly with a Senate office. (202) 224-3121
- Please do not include cuts to Medicaid in the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling.
- Please do not include Medicaid mandatory work requirements as a strategy to cut the Medicaid system.
- Please do not shift the cost to our state.