Things began to unravel for Ramar Robinson about three years ago when he was laid off and hit with a diagnosis of depression and mania. The illnesses would require costly therapy, which he could no longer afford.

So the 26-year-old Baltimore County man wound up on Medicaid — the federal program for low-income families now at the center of the debate over Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and President Donald J. Trump‘s $4 trillion budget proposal.

“Medicaid really did save my life,” said Robinson, who was able to access regular sessions with a therapist and psychiatrist, put his illness into remission and get back to work. “It is due time for society to know what those services really provide and the lives that are being saved daily.”

Congressional Republicans return to work Monday after the Memorial Day recess facing enormous pressure to make progress on replacing the Affordable Care Act — a years-long campaign promise — but also fissures within the party about how to do so. A leading cause of the internal strife is how to handle proposed cuts to Medicaid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is skeptical the Senate could pass the House-passed bill without changes. Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina told a local television station Thursday that the House bill was “not a good plan” and predicted the chamber could not rewrite it by the end of the year.

Assuming Democrats hold together to oppose any Obamacare repeal bill, Republicans can afford to lose only two of their own members.

The core Medicaid program, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, reimburses states for about half the cost of medical coverage. The legislation would change that funding stream, setting a cap per beneficiary. In order to save money, the bill sets the growth rate for those caps below medical inflation — meaning states would bear more of the cost over time.

States could instead opt into a block grant program, meaning they would receive set amounts of federal funding regardless of enrollment. States would have more control over the program, but some advocates warn that might mean reductions in coverage.

Go to Source

Maryland advocates resist efforts to target Medicaid in federal funding fights – Baltimore Sun