Conservatives in state capitals and in Congress supported a balanced approach that increased health insurance coverage while allowing states to design sustainable Medicaid programs that included personal responsibility for low-income residents during the first decade of the 21st century.
States had broad flexibility in recreating Medicaid programs that reflected what was practicable and attainable.
Congress passed Obamacare, popularly known as Obamacare, in a strictly partisan manner. By passing Obamacare, states lost the ability to regulate health insurance markets. Perhaps they should have read the act before passing it, as opposed to the other way around?
While current efforts by the Biden administration are pushing common sense aside, I do not understand how Health Care could be classified as a partisan issue. The actions of President Biden’s team are aimed at consolidating power over Americans’ health care.
During his presidential campaign in 2020, Biden promised to make healthcare more accessible to every American. After just ten months in office, Biden’s actions are unraveling the health care safety net for generations to come.
Over the past few months, the Biden-Harris administration has quietly taken steps to transfer Medicaid management authority from states into the hands of unelected, unaccountable federal bureaucrats.
During the Trump-Pence administration, CMS worked hand in hand with states to give them waivers from federal regulations so they could tailor innovative health care programs to meet the needs of their particular population.
By granting waivers, states are given the flexibility to develop new strategies for providing higher-quality health care to their citizens at a lower cost to taxpayers. Each state has a waiver that allows it to become a “laboratory of democracy,” experimenting with inventive new approaches.
The federal bureaucracy unilaterally revoked Medicaid waivers already granted to states like Texas, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Indiana, and Nebraska once Biden took office. Red states seem to be taking a larger hit, coincidentally I am sure.
This decision could jeopardize millions of dollars that hospitals were counting on to care for their patients, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
In the 40 years since Medicaid waivers have been popular, these strong-arm tactics are unprecedented. No previous administration has canceled a standing Medicaid waiver.
Furthermore, the action ignored the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ own legal agreements with the states and provided no due process for states that made significant investments in obtaining and implementing waiver programs. Most importantly, the revocations were timed to deny states their day before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Biden also erased major reforms authorized by the Trump-Pence administration, which would have allowed states to require able-bodied, childless, adult Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer, or enroll in school in order to receive benefits worth almost $7,000 a year. Under our administration, nearly half of all states proposed adding these commonsense community engagement requirements to their Medicaid programs.
Medicaid reforms brought Medicaid in line with other federal programs such as food stamps, which have had work requirements since the 1990s to prepare recipients to reenter the workforce, provide dignity through work, and provide a route to self-sufficiency.
Today, when employers are struggling to find workers and there are too many unfilled jobs, such a community engagement requirement could be a critical tool for governors to help employers fill job openings, address supply chain issues, and restore state economies.
In every state budget in America, Medicaid is already one of the largest or second-largest items. The program benefits nearly 85 million Americans’ coverage—an all-time high—and as baby boomers age, Medicaid’s costs are expected to double.
Health care in Alaska is different from health care in New York. Medicaid is growing at a rate that threatens to undermine other critical programs such as education and public safety unless the federal government can tailor state-specific programs.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s message to every governor and beneficiary is clear: no state should take on the difficult and complex task of submitting, negotiating, and implementing an innovative waiver program that could improve the care for their most vulnerable citizens. There will be no more innovation or freedom, only one-size-fits-all federal mandates.
By way of example, the Biden administration has made it clear that waivers may be revoked by federal bureaucrats at the stroke of a pen. The purpose of the actions taken by the administration, according to administration officials, is to push state officials toward expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.
Medicaid is simply too enormous and important to leave it to out-of-touch federal bureaucrats, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. All but one of the states have balanced budgets as stipulated in their constitutions. State governments cannot print money or run deficits, unlike the federal government.
Of greater fear here might be the obvious tie-in with the vaccine mandates; control Medicare, and you will definitely control the people.
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