As Republicans push to gut Medicaid, the safety net program’s new administrator quickly made clear that parts of the “punitive” plan she crafted for Indiana’s Medicaid recipients are what she hopes other states will replicate.
After her swearing in Tuesday, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) head Seema Verma and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price sent a letter (pdf) to the nation’s governors stating their commitment “to ushering in a new era for the federal and state Medicaid partnership where states have more freedom to design programs that meet the spectrum of diverse needs of their Medicaid population.”
The plan they sketch out includes letting states impose insurance premium requirements and emergency room co-payments and leading recipients towards features similiar to Health Savings Accounts and pushing “skills and employment.”
As The Atlantic wrote last month:
Decrying her for being “the architect of Indiana’s punitive restrictions on Medicaid patients,” Dr. Robert Zarr, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, warned previously that
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Her work on Medicaid in the Hoosier State was also noted by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who said Verma there “made millions of dollars in consulting fees by kicking poor, working people off of Medicaid for failure to pay monthly contributions similar to premiums,” the New York Times wrote.
In addition to her involvement in Indiana, The Atlantic added that
The letter comes as the Republican plan dubbed TrumpCare would phase out the Medicaid expansion made possible through Obamacare—an expansion derided by Verma and Price in their letter. Beyond that, the GOP proposal would make “changes to Medicaid that would significantly affect coverage and financial security for over 70 million low-income Americans—including children, seniors, and people with disabilities—and increase uncompensated care for hospitals,” Jessica Schubel, senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, writes Wednesday.
Specifically, she writes, it would
- Roll back Medicaid coverage for children ages 6 to 18;
- Make it harder for seniors and people with disabilities to qualify for Medicaid and get care in their homes and communities;
- Increase the likelihood of medical bankruptcy for low-income people and increase uncompensated care for safety net hospitals; and
- Speed up effective repeal of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion by requiring states to redetermine the eligibility of expansion beneficiaries every six months.
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