Reducing the number of people in Medicaid while ensuring that only the most needy remain eligible will be a goal for Trump and the new Congress, but there are obstacles to the Republicans' plans.
This article first appeared November 9, 2016 on Kaiser Health News.
Millions of low-income Americans on Medicaid could lose their health coverage if President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress follow through on GOP proposals to cut spending in the state-federal insurance program.
The biggest risk for Medicaid beneficiaries comes from pledges by Trump and other Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provided federal funding to states to expand Medicaid eligibility starting in 2014. Thirty-one states and Washington, D.C. did so, adding 15.7 million people to the program, according to the government. About 73 million are now enrolled in Medicaid — about half are children.
Reducing the number of people in Medicaid while ensuring that only the most needy — such as children and pregnant women — remain eligible will be a goal for Trump and the new Congress, said Brian Blase, senior research fellow at the conservative Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia.
"If we do not have fewer people in Medicaid in four years, then we have not reformed health policy in a good direction," he said.
But there are obstacles to the Republicans' plans. Medicaid, one of President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" domestic programs that was created in 1965, is the nation's main health insurance program for low-income people.
Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.