I said all along that since Obama’s Affordable Care Act depended so heavily on expanding Medicaid, the Rethugs would try to kill it. Surely I’m not the only person who anticipated this?
Since Rep. Paul Ryan introduced his budget blueprint in April, Democrats have held countless news conferences and issued even more press releases condemning the plan — as they say — to eliminate, end or kill Medicare as we know it.
Yet, for all the Democrats’ posturing and campaigning against Republican plans for Medicare, the GOP budget actually makes more immediate and deeper cuts to Medicaid. But Democrats haven’t been blasting the GOP Medicaid plan with nearly the same fervor, even though Republicans would cut about $750 billion from the program during the next decade and end the guaranteed federal match for states.
With intense budget negotiations on the debt limit under way, health care insiders think Democrats won’t budge much on Medicare now that they have a significant campaign chip in their pockets: Kathy Hochul’s upset win in New York’s 26th Congressional District is Exhibit A of the power of Medicare.
And that makes advocates worry that Medicaid cuts are more likely to come out of budget negotiations led by Vice President Biden.
Medicaid covers more than 50 million people, including low-income children and seniors in long-term care, but it doesn’t pack the same political punch as Medicare. Some observers say that’s due to the lingering perception that Medicaid is just a program for poor people that holds a much less broad-based appeal.
That perception is definitely part of the challenge in communicating Democratic opposition to the GOP’s Medicaid plans, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) told POLITICO.
Medicaid “doesn’t quite have the same political dynamic” as Medicare, Andrews said.
That’s because people who haven’t yet taken care of an aged parent don’t know that Medicaid is the funding mechanism that will pay for a nursing home when all other financial resources are exhausted.
Republicans are so much more worried about taking care of exempting millionaires from estate taxes that they forgot to mention that pertinent fact.