Senate discusses Medicaid expansion amid AHCA negotiations: 5 things to know

As senators work on an ACA replacement plan, one proposal under consideration includes keeping Medicaid expansion while setting limits on the program's spending, reports The New York Times.

Here are five things to know.

1. Earlier this month, the House passed its ACA replacement plan, known as the American Health Care Act.

2. The House plan calls for Medicaid expansion to remain in effect through Jan. 1, 2020. Beginning in 2020, the federal government would limit how much it pays a state annually for Medicaid beneficiaries, according to the report. The limits would be based on the average per-person cost of care for specific Medicaid beneficiary groups, and payment would increase if a state saw a rise in the number of Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled. However, state Medicaid officials contend the formula would not provide enough monies to keep up with medical cost increases or changes in the needs of particular groups of Medicaid beneficiaries, reports NYT.

3. The House plan also cuts Medicaid spending by nearly $1 trillion during the course of a decade, according to the report, which cites the most recent estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

4. As senators work on developing their own bill, they have floated the idea of keeping Medicaid expansion but setting new limits on how much the program spends, according to NYT. The report notes senators could potentially change the formula for computing payment caps, although no final decisions have been made.

5. The American Medical Association penned a letter to Senate leaders, calling on them to remember patients who could become uninsured. "Significant changes to the ACA or Medicaid program potentially threaten the ability for millions of Americans to obtain and retain coverage. It is these citizens, constituents and patients who should be at the center of this debate," wrote AMA CEO James Madara, MD.

Read the full report here.


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