August 20, 2014

2 Different Campaigns, 2 Different Views on Medicaid and Medicare

The Democratic Party and Republican Party hold two different views on how to reform Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor, women, children and disabled. Under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama made it mandatory for every state to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) otherwise they would lose some of their federal funding. This would have given access to about 17 million new enrolles, but the Supreme Court decision in June made it optional for states to expand their Medicaid programs.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan wish to repeal the health care law and make drastic federal cuts to Medicaid should they take office. They also would give states more control over the program by giving them block grants to decide eligibility and benefits. These grants would increase at the rate of inflation, but opponents say annual increases would not be able to compete with the growing amount of health care costs.

Both parties also have different views when it comes to reform of Medicare, the federal health insurance program for senior citizens 65 and older. Under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama will keep Medicare the way it is today overall, while reducing costs. The Republican party’s views on Medicare is to transform it to a voucher system where seniors will be given a certain amount of money and will have the responsibility of taking care of expenses over the cost of their premiums.  Also the Medicare eligibility age would be raised from 65 to 67 by 2034.

While the overall goal of the Romney-Ryan transformation plans for Medicaid and Medicare is to “reduce costs,” there seems to be little regard for access to healthcare for  the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Since states would have more control over the Medicaid program, under their Medicaid plan, they would most likely cut eligibility for some people and prevent some from enrolling in the program. Those that had been previously covered would no longer have coverage and would be left in the dark while those who would have been enrolled would not have had a chance to be covered by Medicaid. Secondly, if the eligibility age was raised from 65-67, those 65 year olds that are poor would have to wait two more years, then they traditionally would have, before they would have coverage under Medicare.

 

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