Politico / New York Times article The Trump administration has been working overtime to destroy Obamacare.
The Department of Health and Human Services, the administration’s main health care agency, recently announced plans to cut Medicaid by 20 percent next year and force some states to cut health insurance subsidies by at least 25 percent, even though the GOP-controlled House has passed a $1.6 trillion tax bill that includes major Medicaid cuts.
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration plans to attack a law that many Republicans have championed and praised.
In October, HHS secretary Tom Price proposed a bill to gut Medicare.
In December, the White House said it would replace Obamacare with a new health care plan that would offer cheaper coverage for low-income Americans, while the GOP also wants to dismantle the law’s Medicaid expansion and end subsidies to insurers for lower-income people.
As the new Trump administration approaches its 100th day in office, the stakes are high for the ACA.
The ACA has been under assault for years, from Republican-led efforts to repeal it in the Senate to Republican-controlled states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA, and many Republicans are now openly expressing opposition to the law.
“The President has repeatedly called the law ‘a disaster for the American people,'” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an interview last week with ABC News.
“But that is precisely why Republicans are so determined to destroy it.
That’s why we are so focused on getting rid of it.”
Republicans have also threatened to dismantle Medicaid.
“It is clear that there are going to be some changes in Medicaid that will affect Medicaid recipients and the Medicaid program,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement.
“I will keep you updated on that as it happens.”
Ryan, however, has previously said he supports Medicaid expansion.
So far, HHS officials have been quiet about their plans for Medicaid.
When the Trump-led House passed the tax bill, HHS Secretary Tom Price announced he would be working to cut federal Medicaid funding by 20% next year.
“We’re going to reduce Medicaid funding,” Price said at the time.
“So we are going reduce funding for Medicaid, and it will be a very, very tough pill to swallow for some of our most vulnerable people.”
He said states will be able to opt out of the ACA Medicaid expansion in 2020, but it would be phased out in 2024.
And the House GOP’s bill, if passed, would cut the Medicaid funding that states receive by 25 percent.
“If you want to say we don’t want people who have health problems, then we have a problem, and we have to do something about it,” Rep. Dave Brat (R) said last week on Fox News.
Trump administration officials have said that the new plan would not affect Medicaid beneficiaries.
“While we will make every effort to ensure states remain fully compliant with Medicaid reforms, we will not be implementing changes to the program that would result in Medicaid beneficiaries being forced to pay higher premiums or deductibles,” said a White House statement.
Ryan has also vowed to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires people to buy insurance or pay a penalty.
“What we’re saying is that the mandate, the individual mandate is going to end in 2024,” he said in March.
“And if we can do that, then that’s great.
If we can’t do that.
I can’t see that we can go on doing it.
But if we do that in 2024, I think we’re going do it.
And I’ll see you in 2024.”
Trump administration health experts have also been working to dismantle Medicare.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters on May 13 that the Trump team is “not going to cut Medicare,” a reference to cuts to Medicaid, but she said they will eliminate the ACA Medicare program.
“Medicare is not going to disappear,” Burwell said.
“There will be changes.”
But a May 20 statement from HHS Director of the Office of Management and Budget Ryan Goodman said the agency is “reviewing our options” to repeal Medicare and that the administration will make a decision in the next 90 days.
A House bill to repeal Medicaid, sponsored by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R, N.J.) and backed by several Republicans, would repeal Medicaid entirely.
“To date, we have not seen a single credible proposal to eliminate Medicaid, much less dismantle Medicare,” the bill reads.
The House bill has faced multiple delays and has yet to pass.
In an interview with CNN last week, a senior HHS official said the Trump White House is reviewing its options.
“You have to keep in mind that it’s an administration that has been in the private sector for over 40 years,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.
“As I understand it, they are not taking a position on the Medicaid issue.”
The White House has been criticized for its approach to Medicaid.
In a June 27 letter to House Republicans, a nonpartisan research