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GOP Bill's Unheralded Changes In Rules Could Undermine Health Of Neediest

By Kaiser Health News  
   March 21, 2017

Proposed changes could potentially saddle people on Medicaid with unaffordable medical bills, shortchange providers, and raise costs throughout the healthcare system.

This article first appeared March 20, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Emily Bazar

An under-the-radar provision in the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would require the millions of Medicaid enrollees who signed up under the Obamacare expansion to renew their coverage every six months — twice as often as under current law.

That change would inevitably push many people out of coverage, at least temporarily, experts say, and help GOP leaders phase out Medicaid expansion — a key goal of the pending legislation.

"That's designed to move people off those rolls as soon as possible," said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education.

The proposal to cut renewal time in half is among other changes that seem only procedural but could have a profound effect on Medicaid enrollees' health, pocketbooks and ability to get — and keep — coverage.

Another proposal would eliminate the ability of new Medicaid enrollees to request retroactive coverage for up to three months before the month they apply, which they can do under the current law — assuming they were eligible during that previous period.

Health care experts and advocates fear that could potentially saddle people on Medicaid with unaffordable medical bills, shortchange providers and raise costs throughout the health care system.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


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