Capitol Comments

The latest version of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, or BCRA, was released July 20, 2017. According to the CBO analysis, the new version of the BCRA would reduce federal deficits by $420 billion over the 2017-2026 period, the net result of a direct spending decrease of $903 billion partially offset by a $483 billion decrease in revenues. Of special interest to states, the reduction in Medicaid spending is $772 billion, or 85 percent of the reduced spending, directly impacting states’ budgets. The effects of the bill on the number of uninsured is little changed from the earlier version. In 2018, 15 million more people would be uninsured than under current law and would reach 22 million in 2026.

Last week in Washington, D.C. 27 state legislative leaders gathered for the sixth annual CSG Medicaid 101 Policy Academy. Attention was focused on the Medicaid reform plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, under consideration in the U.S. Senate following the House approval of the American Health Care Act in early May. CSG prepared a brief side-by-side comparison of the...

Earlier this week, I spoke with Ohio Rep. Al Landis about a media campaign he has started to bring attention to the opioid crisis in his legislative district and spread a message about prevention. He calls it #gotyourback.  He asks people to post on his own personal Facebook page a picture of themselves back to back with a friend and the words “I’ve got your back! It’s what friends do. Help your friends say no to drugs.”

The campaign springs from his growing alarm about the opioid crisis in Ohio.

The president's federal budget was released May 23 and the analysis of winners and losers began practically before the ink was dry, although almost all of Washington seemed to agree the budget was dead on arrival. Cuts to the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, alone total $616 billion over the next ten years. The budget also envisions saving $250 billion from partly repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. Taken together, these Medicaid cuts are nearly half the nondefense discretionary funding cuts. To further understand just how important federal Medicaid funds are to states, CSG looked at 2017 federal funding flowing to the states. According to Federal Funds Information for the States, or FFIS, data, the federal Medicaid funding for 2017 is more than 50 percent of all federal grant funds flowing to states in all but four states.

The American Health Care Act, or AHCA, the proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4. The bill contained several major changes to the Medicaid program that, if enacted, would directly impact states’ budgets. CSG estimates the annual state loss of federal Medicaid Funds from the high of $7,210.1 million in California to $16.8 million in Delaware. The median loss is $474.1 million for Connecticut, with half of the expansion states losing less federal funds annually and half of the expansion states losing more federal funds annually.

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