Colorado could lose out on $14B in Medicaid funding
Colorado would lose out on $14 billion in federal funding for Medicaid by 2030 if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with the Republican-backed plan known as the American Health Care Act, according to a new report Thursday.
The report, by the nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute, also found that 600,000 fewer people would probably be covered by Medicaid in the state by 2030 than if the current law remains in place. That group represents people who would have been covered by expanded Medicaid eligibility rules that the American Health Care Act would phase out. Because those people would have low, though not quite poverty-level, incomes, the Colorado Health Institute predicts that many of them would be unable to afford insurance in the private market and would instead go without.
“Colorado stands to lose substantial funding and Medicaid enrollment through the AHCA,” the report concludes, using the GOP plan’s acronym.
The Colorado Health Institute’s analysis is the first to provide specific numbers for how the AHCA would impact Medicaid in the state. The bill would make two major changes to Medicaid: First, it would phase out the Medicaid expansion that allowed people slightly above the poverty line to be enrolled on the government-funded program; Second, it would cap the amount of money the federal government gives to states every year to run Medicaid.
The changes would pose a dilemma for the state because health care costs would likely rise faster than money coming in from the federal government, according to the report.
This would gradually shift responsibility for Colorado’s multibillion-dollar Medicaid system — which is currently shared roughly equally by the state and federal governments — onto the state budget.
Unless the state can come up with new money to pay for it, the only options would be to cut back on who is eligible for Medicaid, reduce the services provided to those on Medicaid or slash what the system pays to doctors for treating Medicaid patients, the Colorado Health Institute report concludes.