Editorial writers examine various issues involved in the Republican efforts to change the federal-state low-income insurance program.

The Washington Post:
Why Republicans Are Finding It So Hard To Spin Their War On Medicaid

To be clear, what [Republican senators are] pushing for — and what Republicans have wanted for a long time — isn’t just revoking the ACA’s Medicaid expansion but going farther, to transform the program into block grants given to states and give them “flexibility,” which means allowing them to cut benefits and kick people off the program. This is apparently what hard-right conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee (both of whom are on the working group devising the Senate’s plan) are pushing for. (Paul Waldman, 5/12)

Baltimore Sun:
Gutting Medicaid Will Harm Generations To Come

A bill to fundamentally change the way Americans purchase and receive health care passed the House of Representatives and is now waiting consideration in the Senate. The bill, which was opposed by nearly every major medical organization, threatens the health and well-being of millions of Americans with public and private insurance. The bill would effectively gut Medicaid, the program that today, thanks to expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ensures health services for 74 million Americans, including nearly 1.3 million Marylanders. As leaders and frontline health professionals, we see daily how Medicaid saves lives and provides hope and stability, and our state must join a growing national effort to preserve it. (Rep. Elijah Cummings, Leana S. Wen and Kevin Lindamood, 5/14)

No, Medicaid Isn’t Broken

One reason the architects of the American Health Care Act want to cut Medicaid spending and give more responsibility to the states is that they believe that the current program is “broken,” with inadequate access to physicians and out-of-control costs. This is one of those canards that is repeated so often that many people just accept it as true. Mostly, it is not true. (Drew Altman, 5/15)

Trumpcare Hits Children’s Hospitals Hard

The nation’s children’s hospitals may see a harsh reduction in funding and reduced care for their patients should the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare, replace the Affordable Care Act, new analyses show. The ACA expanded Medicaid in 31 states that opted to do so, particularly for children that tend to qualify for such coverage in greater numbers than adults. The AHCA, which narrowly passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, would roll back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and will lead to 14 million fewer Americans with insurance by 2018 and eventually 24 million would lose coverage by 2026, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in March. (Bruce Japsen, 5/14)

Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio Lawmakers Must Fill Multimillion-Dollar Medicaid Managed-Care Sales Tax Hole

A substantial amount of funding for the state of Ohio, for mass transit in Greater Cleveland and elsewhere, as well as for counties depends on how well the General Assembly addresses a hole federal decisions have dug for Ohio. At issue: a sales tax on Medicaid managed care organizations worth $597 million annually for Ohio and $200 million for the localities and transit authorities that levy “piggyback” sales taxes. Federal officials have said the taxes are no longer proper and given Ohio until June 30 to get rid of them. (5/14)

Cleveland Plain Dealer:
New Ohio House GOP Efforts Emerge To Toss Otherwise Eligible Ohioans Off Medicaid

Trumpcare isn’t the only threat to hundreds of thousands of low-income Ohioans who depend on Medicaid expansion for health care. So is the Ohio House’s version of Ohio’s proposed 2017-19 budget. Tucked into the Republican-run House’s budget rewrite are amendments that could keep otherwise eligible low-income Ohioans from getting or keeping Medicaid expansion coverage. (Thomas Suddes, 5/13)

Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail:
Ryancare Courageously Takes On Medicaid Problem

Medicaid has been a backdoor for getting the country on a single-payer government health care system. Just since 1980, the percentage of Americans on this government single-payer system has exploded from 8.7 percent to 18.3 percent in 2013. … Because Medicaid is simply government health care, it is marked by waste and inefficiency. The undisciplined spending just drives up health care costs and drives down health care quality. (Star Parker, 5/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.