Medicaid is in grave danger

Dear Editor,

President Trump and his Republican cohorts in the Senate are clearly focused on gutting Medicaid Basic — not just Medicaid Expansion. They don’t want you to notice their efforts to do grave harm to both Medicaid Basic and Medicaid Expansion. Don’t be distracted by Trump’s cruel and childish insults with cable television personalities.

Medicaid Basic was enacted in 1965 and is not a part of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. President Obama was 4 years old when Medicaid Basic was adopted.

Medicaid Expansion, enacted in 2010, significantly expanded both eligibility for and federal funding of Medicaid and is a part of Obamacare, covering about 15 million additional vulnerable people that, along with over 55 million other poor and vulnerable people covered under Medicaid Basic, provides for a total of over 70 million people covered by Medicaid Basic and Medicaid Expansion. That’s about one in five of us.

Medicaid covers eligible low-income adults, children (CHIP Program), pregnant women, elderly adults, over 65 percent of nursing home patients, people with disabilities, etc.

The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest doctors’ group, opposes the Senate health care bill, the organization announced in a letter to Senate leaders last week. Numerous other health care groups also have misgivings or are outright opposed to passage of the Senate health care bill. They include:

The American Academy of Family Physicians

The American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Hospital Association

The Federation of American Hospitals

The Children’s Hospital Association

America’s Essential Hospitals

The Catholic Health Association of the United States

The American Cancer Society Action Network

The American Lung Association

AARP

Right now 13 Republican, all male, United States Senators are meeting in secret to write legislation to kill Medicaid Expansion and starve Medicaid Basic. Unlike regular legislative order (standard bi-partisan Senate committees), no Democrats are allowed to be involved and no committee votes will be taken before the legislation is sprung on us sometime this summer and voted on by the full Senate.

It is virtually certain the Senate bill will copy the portion of the House-passed Trumpcare bill that repeals all of Medicaid Expansion and starves to death Medicaid Basic. This is where the $800 billion dollars comes from for the super rich tax cut.

Trumpcare keeps the prescription doughnut hole (whereas Obamacare closes it) and also threatens Medicare (health care for people over 65) coverage for about 50 million additional Americans by setting it up to be eventually handed over to the private insurance industry, and Wall Street.)

Of those over 70 million Americans whose Medicaid Basic is at risk are about 3 million Ohioans and the 700,000 more that have received health insurance under Medicaid Expansion. Belmont County has one of the highest county Medicaid enrollments in Ohio.

One of the 13 Senators writing the Senate version of Trumpcare is Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman. If you care about the future of Ohioan’s health care you should send a single-page letter or postcard (something in writing other than phone calls or email) strongly supporting Medicaid Basic and Medicaid Expansion to Senator Portman.

Bill Bryant

St. Clairsville

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