New Report Shows Medicaid Cuts Would Disproportionately Affect Children of Color

sad childMedicaid is the single largest insurer for children in the United States. The program covers more than 35.5 million children nation-wide and more than 2 million children in New York State alone. On May 4, the House of Representatives voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cut more than $830 billion from the Medicaid program. In addition to these dramatic cuts, Congress has also proposed to lower the federal minimum Medicaid eligibility threshold for children under 19 from 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (about $28,000 for a family of three) to 100 percent of FPL (about $20,000 for a family of three). A new policy brief from the Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy at Brandeis University shows what these cuts to Medicaid and change in eligibility will mean for school-aged children.

According to the policy brief, there are currently 15.2 million children eligible for Medicaid coverage in the U.S. The proposed change in the federal minimum eligibility for the Medicaid program would reduce the number of eligible children by 4.7 million. The brief also explains that eligible children are disproportionately Black and Hispanic or Latino. This is also true in New York State. According to the brief, New York ranks fourth in the nation for the number of Hispanic or Latino children who would lose Medicaid eligibility under this change (90,600) and fifth for the number of Black children who would lose Medicaid eligibility (48,400).

New York State has always been a leader in children’s health coverage. New York currently has an insurance rate for children of more than 97 percent, and all children under the age of 19 are eligible for health insurance regardless of immigration status. New York State also has a Medicaid eligibility level for school-aged children of 149 percent of FPL (about $30,000 for a family of three) through 2019, which is greater than the federal minimum eligibility under the ACA. However, even with these many steps in the right direction, Black and Hispanic or Latino children remain more likely to be uninsured than other New York children. Cuts to Medicaid and reduction of the federal Medicaid eligibility level would be a huge step backward and only serve to exacerbate existing health inequities for New York’s children.

keep goingLast Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). If the AHCA were to become law, 2.7 New Yorkers would lose their health insurance, Medicaid would be cut by more than $800 billion, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be severely weakened. Seven of New York State’s nine Republican Representatives voted in favor of the bill; two Republicans voted against it; and all 18 Democrats voted against it. The bill is now in the Senate for further consideration and revision.

However, the conversation on the AHCA and what it will mean for New Yorkers is not over! Members of Congress left for recess shortly after the vote and came home to face constituents, many of whom were dismayed by the passage of the devastating legislation.

In the days following the vote, town halls took place in the districts of Representatives King, Faso, Stefanik and Reed, who all voted in favor of the AHCA. Representatives King and Faso did not attend the town halls in their districts, and Representatives Collins, Tenney, and Zeldin, who also voted in favor of the bill, did not host town halls. This video from the town hall in Representative Reed’s district provides some insight into how some constituents are feeling about the AHCA and how they think it would affect their care.

It is not too late to call your Representatives and tell them how you feel about the AHCA and about their votes. You can call your Representatives in their districts using the numbers listed here:

Voted Against the AHCA (Thank you!!)

  • Congressman Dan Donovan
    • Brooklyn Office (718) 630-5277
    • Staten Island Office (718) 351-1062
  • Congressman John Katko
    • Auburn/Lyons Offices (315) 253-4068
    • Oswego/Syracuse Offices (315) 423-5657

Voted for the AHCA (Start defending the health of constituents over tax cuts!)

  • Congressman Pete King
    • Massapequa Office (516) 541-6602
  • Congressman Tom Reed
    • Corning Office  (607) 654-7566
    • Geneva Office (315) 759-5229
    • Ithaca Office (607) 222-2027
    • Jamestown Office (716) 708-6369
    • Olean Office (716) 806-1069
  • Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
    • Glens Falls Office (518) 743-0964
    • Plattsburgh Office (518) 561-2324
    • Watertown Office (315) 782-1291
  • Congresswoman Claudia Tenney
    • Binghamton Office (607) 376-6002
    • New Hartford Office (315) 732-0713
  • Congressman  Lee Zeldin
    • Patchogue Office (631) 289-1097
    • East End Office (631) 209-4235

Albany, NY – Health Care for All New York (HCFANY), a statewide coalition of over 170 consumer advocacy organizations, expressed great dismay at the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Despite unprecedented opposition from constituents, House Republicans voted to take health care away from 2.7 million New Yorkers, abandon Americans with pre-existing conditions to hopelessly underfunded “high-risk” rationing pools, slash Medicaid, and raise health care costs for all families by up to 20 percent.

The passage of the AHCA threatens the high quality affordable health coverage offered to millions of New Yorkers through the New York State of Health marketplace, including the Essential Plan, individual commercial plans and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act allowed 3.6 million New Yorkers to get health insurance by revitalizing New York’s individual market, increasing the number of people eligible for Medicaid, and creating the Essential Plan. The Medicaid program provides affordable care to six million New Yorkers who cannot afford private insurance. Over a third of the New Yorkers covered by Medicaid are children, while most of the spending on the program provides care to the elderly and people with disabilities. The AHCA’s cap on Medicaid will mean devastating cuts for New York’s most vulnerable.

We thank the New York Democratic delegation and, critically, Representatives Donovan and Katko for their courageous stand for New Yorkers against enormous political pressure.

We condemn the votes of Representatives Collins, Faso, King, Reed, Stefanik, Tenney, and Zeldin for failing to defend the health needs of hundreds of thousands of their constituents who have gained coverage under the ACA.

HCFANY worked hard this year on a series of important priorities during this budget session. Governor Cuomo’s statement on the final enacted budget can be found here.

Here is a quick summary of how we did:

Full funding for Community Health Advocates (CHA)

HCFANY Recommendation: Provide $4.75 million in funding for CHA to help people and small businesses obtain, use, and keep their health insurance coverage.

Result: The final budget included $3.5 million for CHA – $2.5 million from the Executive and $1 million from the Assembly. The total funding is an increase of $250,000 from the past year.

Expansion of Child Health Plus (CHP) to Age 29

HCFANY Recommendation: Increase the age limit for CHP from 19 to 29 to create an affordable coverage option for young adults who are not eligible for subsidized health insurance because of their immigration status.

Result: This measure was not included in the enacted budget.

Essential Plan Premiums and Cost-Sharing

HCFANY Recommendation: HCFANY opposed increasing premiums and cost-sharing for consumers enrolled in the Essential Plan (EP), New York’s Basic Health Program for consumers with incomes just above the Medicaid limit.

Result: There were no changes to EP premiums, and there will be no increases in cost-sharing through at least March 2018.

Medicaid Beneficiary Protections

HCFANY Recommendation: HCFANY opposed the following threats to Medicaid beneficiaries: (1) increase in copayments for preferred, non-preferred, and over-the-counter drugs; (2) elimination of spousal/parental refusal, a reduction of resources that spouses and parents of people in managed long-term care or nursing homes can keep; and (3) repeal of “prescriber prevails.”

Result: (1) The budget increased copayments for preferred prescription drugs from $1 to $2.50 and decreased copayments for non-preferred drugs from $3 to $2.50. There were no changes to copayments for over-the-counter drugs; (2) there were no changes to spousal refusal; and (3) there were no changes to “prescriber prevails.”

Enhanced Reimbursement for Safety Net Hospitals

HCFANY Recommendation: Provide an enhanced reimbursement rate for hospitals that: (1) have at least 50 percent Medicaid or uninsured patients; (2) have at least 40 percent of inpatient discharges covered by Medicaid; (3) have no more than 25 percent of patients commercially insured; and (4) are facilities that are part of the state’s five public health systems or federally designated as critical access or sole community hospitals.

Result: The final budget includes $40 million for safety net hospitals that meet the criteria above for fiscal year 2018.

Health Care Regulation Modernization Team

HCFANY Recommendation: Designate at least 20 percent of the seats on this team for health care consumers or advocates and require consumer representation on all team subgroups. Limit the team’s role to making recommendations that would then be taken up by the legislature.

Result: The Health Care Regulation Modernization Team was not included in the final enacted budget.