Last week the Trump administration released new guidance for states to change the way they structure their Medicaid program. Despite irrefutable evidence that Medicaid expands access, improves health, and saves lives, the Trump administration is attempting to undermine the program at every turn. “Block granting” Medicaid would restrict the services states are able to provide and limit the number of people states are able to cover.
Medicaid is the primary health insurer for many of our nation’s most vulnerable. Block grants would disproportionately affect low-income and disadvantaged individuals. The program is the nation’s largest payer for family planning care, covers half of children with special health needs, and nearly half of non-elderly adults with disabilities. Further, the majority of spending within the program is in these groups, and not “non-working adults” as many Medicaid opponents purport.
In response to the announcement, Dr Isaiah Cochran, national president of AMSA said:
“The Medicaid block grant proposed by President Trump and his administration is very disheartening. In 2020 we should be pushing for health care equality and equity for all rather than cutting back services. Block granting would limit health care for many low-income American citizens and restrict access to affordable prescription drugs. AMSA is strongly opposed to this. I strongly urge all U.S. Citizens to reach out to their elected officials asking them not to support this proposition as it would disadvantage so many Americans who already have limited access to health care.”
As future medical providers, we at AMSA are deeply concerned about the impact that this fundamental change to program structure would have on our patients. Our organization believes that health is a human right that should be accessible and affordable to all, not to the privileged few. The alarming trend by the federal government to restrict, delay, and deny care to our nation’s most vulnerable is untenable and we will not stand idly by.
Hanan Rakine, co-chair of AMSA’s Health Care For All campaign stated:
“President Trump’s proposal of block granting Medicaid would gut this critical government program upon which many low-income Americans depend for health insurance. In many jurisdictions, Medicaid would no longer be able to provide essential medical services to people who need them the most, severely hindering our ability to provide the best quality of care that every human being deserves. It is crucial now more than ever for us to stand up and use our voices for the millions of people who currently depend on Medicaid.
AMSA calls on federal and state governments to expand, rather than cut, Medicaid services. During AMSA’s recent Health Care For All Week of Action, our organization focused on the benefits of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. You can access a webinar about the issue here, use this toolkit to advocate in your community, and join our campaign here!