Medicaid Is the Future of American Health Insurance

While liberals often say that their ultimate goal in health care is “Medicare for all,” the current debate over the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act should show us that if there’s a path to a universal and secure health-care system, it may be more likely to come through Medicaid, which is now America’s largest insurer. That is, if Medicaid can survive the next two weeks.

Republicans in the Senate are hoping to vote before the July 4 congressional recess on their health-care plan, which they will do without holding a single public hearing or committee markup (where amendments are voted on). In fact, their terror that the public might actually get a look at their bill is so complete that most of the Republican senators haven’t even been told what’s in it. But one thing we do know is that it represents an outright assault on Medicaid, despite the fact that supposedly moderate GOP senators were reluctant to eviscerate the program that has benefited so many of their constituents.

Apparently, those senators have gotten over their doubts. From various reports we’ve learned that the Senate plan would roll back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion over seven years (as opposed to the three years in the House bill), but that’s just the beginning. In order to pay for a massive tax cut for the wealthy, they’re considering deep cuts to the program over and above what rescinding the expansion would entail. And they want to eliminate Medicaid’s guarantee of coverage for poor Americans, turning it into a block grant and giving states “flexibility” to slash benefits and kick people off the program.

We don’t know if they’ll get away with it—if enough public pressure gets applied over the next two weeks over this plan to take health coverage away from millions of people, a few of those senators may back down. Meanwhile though, liberals are realizing that strengthening and expanding Medicaid is one of the simplest ways to move the country toward truly universal coverage…

Read full story at The American Prospect

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