Veterans and advocacy groups across the country are blasting the Senate’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, fearing that the cuts to Medicaid will impact hundreds of thousands of former soldiers across the country.
Estimates on how many veterans would lose their healthcare under the bill vary, but several outlets believe that millions of veterans would lose coverage under the current plan.
An analysis by the Center for American Progress found that more than 440,000 veterans would lose Medicaid coverage by 2026 under the House of Representative’s version of the bill—however, the Senate’s proposal contains larger Medicaid cuts.
Meanwhile, Families USA and VoteVets.org found that approximately 1.75 million veterans who use Medicaid for health care would be put at risk by the shirking of the federal program. The groups note that not all veterans qualify for health insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs for a variety of reasons.
“This is a dishonor to those who have served,” Lt. Gen. John Castellaw told the Tennessean newspaper.
The bill would continue the expansion of Medicaid funding from the Affordable Care Act until 2021, but then begin phasing it out.
However, the bill would overhaul the Medicaid program by sending fixed amounts of money to states each year and shrink the program over time by linking funding to standard inflation starting in 2025 – which could force states to cut off enrollment or roll back benefits, according to CNN.
Emily Blair, the manager of Military and Veteran’s policy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, wrote in an op-ed for The Hill that the Senate bill could result in a $834 billion cut to Medicaid, which could impact millions of veterans.
The bill faces an uphill battle before it goes up for a vote, as many Republican senators believe it does not go far enough in cutting back the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
Want to know more about the Senate’s healthcare bill? Here is a quick list of things you need to know.