Theyre sentencing me to death: Medicaid recipients on the Republican healthcare plan
The Guardian interviewed people from across the country who have relied on the coverage for life-saving assistance and what could happen if they lose it
On Thursday, Senate Republicans unveiled legislation that would satisfy a long-held campaign promise: the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plan would also achieve another GOP priority: deep cuts to Medicaid, a program that covers the healthcare needs of nearly one in five Americans.
Medicaid is the nations largest public insurance program, providing health benefits to nearly 74 million Americans including low-income adults and children, seniors and people with disabilities. It has unparalleled reach: about half of all babies are born on Medicaid and four in 10 children are covered by Medicaid or its sister benefit, the Childrens Health Insurance Program.
Those programs also cover roughly three in 10 people suffering from opioid addiction. Medicaid has also become a critical benefit for elderly Americans whose medical needs are not covered by Medicare, including six in 10 residents in nursing homes.
Donald Trump has said he supports the Republican-led ACA repeal. If it passes into law, he will break a pledge he made as a candidate to protect Medicaid from spending cuts.
The Senate healthcare plan, like the House bill that narrowly passed last month, would phase outMedicaid expansion under the ACA, under which 31 states and the District of Columbia added more than 11 million low-income adults to the program.
It would also restructure the program, giving states the option to convert Medicaid into a block grant program or to impose a cap on federal spending based on the number of enrollees.
An analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that under the House bill, such changes would cut Medicaid spending by $834bn over 10 years, and lead to 23 million fewer people having insurance coverage.
The Guardian interviewed people from across the country who rely or have relied on Medicaid for, in their words, life-saving assistance. Though the full impact of the cuts to Medicaid as proposed under the Republican plan are not yet known, the prospect of losing this program has such Americans worried. Here are their stories.