TRUMPCARE?

Donald Trump is set to be inducted as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. One of the things he has pledged to do is repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). The actual plan is currently unknown, but it can be safely assumed that something will change. The Affordable Care Act is a tremendously complex set of legislation and executive orders, and trying to discuss every aspect of what might change is a fool’s errand. I want to touch on possible changes to Medicaid. Medicaid is the program whereby the state, with the assistance of the federal government, provides health care for those that cannot afford it. In Wisconsin, it takes on many forms in its subprograms (e.g. Badgercare, Family Care, Institutional Long Term Care, etc.).
President Trump may be proposing to change a portion of Medicaid to provide “block grants”. Essentially, instead of the Federal Government directly funding a portion of Medicaid on an as needed basis, it would provide a specified amount of funds to each state each year, and the state would administer the programs alone. Because the federal government currently pays more for Medicaid than the state typically does, there are fears that the funds would be mismanaged by the states, or that states will pass more stringent laws to limit Medicaid eligibility. If that happens, it would likely create a gap where people who need and can’t afford health care also can’t receive it at a free or reduced cost because they don’t qualify. Proponents say that giving states autonomy will help them to reduce overall healthcare costs. Time will tell what effect any possible changes may have.