ICYMI: Vice News: Trump’s plan to slash Medicaid could leave millions sick and in debt. Just ask Texas.
March 18, 2019
Last week, the Trump administration unveiled plans to slash almost $1.5 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade, and eliminate expansion altogether. Even after promising during the campaign not to cut this vital program, Trump is continuing his all out assault on Americans health care:
Vice News: Trump’s plan to slash Medicaid could leave millions sick and in debt. Just ask Texas.
By Emma Ockerman
There are the days Lilia Valadez spends in pain — vomiting, pacing, aching, screaming — and the days she spends anticipating when the pain might come again, keeping her from work and potentially requiring an emergency room visit she can’t afford.
Valadez, a 44-year-old living in the border town of Pharr, Texas, has a recurring intestinal infection and no health insurance. She’s nearly $25,000 in medical debt from visits to the ER — more than she and her husband bring in each year between his disability payments and her part-time job as a caregiver to the elderly.
The rest of her family qualifies for Medicaid, the government’s health care program for the poor and disabled, because her husband has a severe mental illness and her 3-year-old son is autistic. But while Valadez is poor, and sick, she’s neither poor enough nor sick enough to qualify for Medicaid in Texas. So she goes without care.
“I kind of just have to sit here and rot until something happens,” Valadez said through tears. “I’m so scared.”
And Republicans are pushing to make the rest of the country’s health care look a lot like Texas’.
This week, the Trump administration unveiled a 2020 spending plan that would cut almost $1.5 trillion from Medicaid over a decade, and eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion entirely. Instead, according to the plan, the federal government would allocate $1.2 trillion to block grants or per-person caps — funding arrangements that give states more flexibility to kick poor people off health insurance.
Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, is also leading a coalition of 20 states suing the federal government to unravel the nation’s health care program by arguing the 2010 Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. A Fort Worth-based judge took Paxton’s side in a ruling in December, although Obamacare is still in effect during the appeals process. If the Texas-led lawsuit wins, Medicaid expansion could disappear across the country.
If the rest of the U.S. were to allow a Texas-style Medicaid coverage gap to fester, “it’d be both a personal crisis for millions of Americans and a systemic crisis for the health-care industry,” said Anne Dunkelberg, associate director at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities…