Washington, D.C. — The House GOP Manager’s Amendment to the American Health Care Act makes marked gains in strengthening ObamaCare repeal and ensuring new states do not go down the disastrous ObamaCare expansion path.
The amendment eliminates ObamaCare’s perverse “enhanced” funding for additional states. The enhanced funding redirects resources away from the truly needy on traditional Medicaid toward the new able-bodied expansion population.
The amendment would also gradually phase out enhanced funding for states that have already opted into ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Expansion states would receive traditional matching rates for new enrollees, beginning in 2020.
Finally, the amendment gives states new flexibility to create work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid. This new option would allow states to refocus their programs on the truly needy and move more able-bodied adults out of dependency and into self-sufficiency. More than two-thirds of all voters support Medicaid work requirements.
“Without a doubt these amendments are an encouraging signal to the American people that Congress is working to repeal Obamacare,” says FGA CEO Tarren Bragdon. “While much more work is needed to fully repeal the law, this is a down payment.”
An additional ingredient for successful repeal is an expansion enrollment freeze.
Legislators and governors in several expansion states have already signaled an interest in this option that would give them greater flexibility and certainty in their budgets. While the Trump administration may look at giving states the authority to freeze enrollment in the near future, statutory authority for states would provide the most clarity. As the AHCA continues to move through the process, congressional leaders should add an enrollment freeze to the bill.
A poll released earlier this month by FGA found that an enrollment freeze is politically popular. 79% of Republicans and 81% of Trump voters support stopping ObamaCare expansion enrollment.
The Foundation for Government Accountability is a non–profit, multi–state think tank that specializes in health care, welfare, and regulatory reform. To learn more, visit TheFGA.org.