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How the Graham-Cassidy Bill Would Affect Michigan Seniors

How The Graham-Cassidy Bill Would Affect Michigan Seniors | Elder Law Attorneys

Republicans are trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with the Graham-Cassidy Bill. Under the Graham-Cassidy Bill, Michigan can expect to lose the Medicaid expansion funds it received under the ACA by 2020. Approximately 17 million Americans received insurance under the ACA expansion, including many between the ages of 55 and 64.

In this blog post, we will explain how the Graham-Cassidy Bill would affect how Medicaid is distributed to seniors in Michigan. If the bill passes, we recommend consulting with a Medicaid attorney near you to learn how you’ll be affected.

The Graham-Cassidy Bill would:

  • End Medicaid expansion from the ACA by 2020
  • Convert Medicaid expansion funds to block grants by 2020
  • Change Medicaid funding formula to a per-capita cap
  • Allow insurers to charge seniors up to five times more than young people (or more, if states allow it)
  • Give states power to reduce benefits, limit eligibility, and cut provider rates for Medicaid

Per-Capita Cap

Under the Graham-Cassidy Bill, states would receive Medicaid dollars based on population, rather than need. States are currently able to receive more federal funding for Medicaid when there is an increase in the need for health care services, such as after a natural disaster. However, the Graham-Cassidy Bill would change this so that the federal government would give Michigan and other states a fixed amount of Medicaid funding per beneficiary.

Higher Costs for Seniors

Insurance companies would be able to charge older beneficiaries up to five times more than younger people for medical services. Currently, the ACA only allows insurers to charge seniors up to three times more than younger people. Under the Graham-Cassidy Bill, states would also be given the power to allow insurers to charge seniors even more for pre-existing medical conditions. Medicaid for seniors would change significantly under the Graham-Cassidy Bill.

Dropped Health Care Services and Limited Eligibility

Block grant funding for Medicaid wouldn’t increase with the real cost of health care services. Federal funding under the Graham-Cassidy Bill also wouldn’t account for the fact that health care costs vary by state. Since the Graham-Cassidy Bill would shift billions of dollars in Medicaid costs to states, Michigan would have to decide whether it wanted to limit eligibility for Medicaid so less people are receiving money from the block grant. Other ways to reduce spending could include dropping health care services that were considered “essential benefits” under the ACA.

The Graham-Cassidy Bill contains so much more than what has been described here, which is why we recommend contacting an elder law attorney near you to learn how this bill could affect your retirement plans, including using Medicaid for nursing home expenses.

Many major health organizations oppose the Graham-Cassidy Bill, including:

  • American Medical Association
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • AARP
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Planned Parenthood
  • American Heart Association
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • HIV Medicine Association
  • The Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement
  • American Cancer Society
  • National Association of Medicaid Directors
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Children’s Hospital Association
  • Public Health Institute
  • and more

 For the latest information regarding Medicaid law for seniors, we recommend calling our Michigan elder law attorneys in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. The Medicaid lawyers at the Law Offices of Sean Patrick Cox PLLC are dedicated to helping clients make financial plans for retirement.