Last week I was discussing the impact that the Republican party’s health care bill, dubbed by some “Trumpcare”, might have on long term care. As of Friday it appears that the American Health Care Act is dead and Obamacare, at least for now, is still with us. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at how this bill or any new bill proposed by Congress might impact Medicaid.
My point in last week’s post is that the proposed healthcare bill did not appear to have a direct impact on Medicaid’s long term care coverage. By that, I mean to say that it did not contain any changes to the existing Medicaid laws that relate to long term care. There isn’t anything in the proposed law, for example, that would extend the Medicaid lookback beyond the current 5 years. The law meant to address health care coverage, not long term care coverage.
That does not mean, however, that long term care coverage under Medicaid wouldn’t be affected at all. Trumpcare included ending Medicaid expansion under Obamacare and cuts to Medicaid funding so that a set amount would be allotted to the states by the federal government for their Medicaid programs. Medicaid is a series of different programs under the “Medicaid umbrella”. There is a Medicaid program that covers health care. There are also Medicaid programs that cover long term care.
The effect of these cuts is obvious. Less money to spread amongst those qualifying for Medicaid means the financial burden falls increasingly upon the states. New Jersey is not exactly the picture of fiscal health so it is not difficult to envision that qualifying for Medicaid benefits will only become more difficult than it already is.
For the time being, Obamacare is here to stay. President Trump’s initial reaction to the failure of the AHCA bill is to wait for, what he believes will be, an Obamacare implosion and then try again to revamp it. You can be sure the fight isn’t over especially since the health care and long term care crisis in this country isn’t going away. Stay tuned.