One of the reasons the repeal effort has stalled is that people are beginning to understand that repeal and cuts to Medicaid would touch all of us. It is important to keep this front and center in the coming weeks and months as the debate continues.
If you are a senior and have coverage through Medicare, proposed cuts to Medicaid would slash vital services you may rely on now, or may need at some point in the future. Medicaid is more than a healthcare program for low-income families; it covers two-thirds of nursing home residents in the United States.
Even if you enter retirement comfortably in the middle class, years of nursing home care, if needed, can run your savings dry. When this happens, the costs are picked up by Medicaid. The cost of home care is also covered by Medicaid, allowing millions of seniors to continue living at home rather than in nursing homes.
Those funds would also be on the chopping block. Whether you are currently a senior, a relative of a senior or a future senior, you will likely be affected by the availability — or absence — of these benefits at some point in your life.
Persons with disabilities, or who have loved ones with disabilities, would also be affected by Medicaid cuts. More than one-third of Americans with disabilities are covered by Medicaid; the program pays for the services that allow these individuals to live and work in their communities.
If you are one of the 14 million who gained health coverage as a result of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid to childless adults and to greater numbers of parents, that coverage is at risk.
If your child relies on Medicaid, your child’s coverage is also at risk because massive cuts to Medicaid could affect all eligibility groups, not only those who gained coverage through the ACA. Medicaid covers four in 10 children and half of all births. Recent research suggests that the effects of Medicaid for children extends to the next generation, too; it reduces preterm births and increases birth weights of children born to those who themselves had Medicaid when they were young.
People with job-based coverage should bear in mind that they may not always have job-based coverage. One pre-ACA study found that in a three-year period, 40 percent of those with coverage through their employer had a change in coverage, with one-quarter of them becoming uninsured. Medicaid and the health exchanges provide affordable coverage options for people who lose job-based coverage — options that would no longer be affordable or available for many under the repeal and replace bills.