Skylar Overman was born with abnormal clefts in her brain. At only 10 years old, her condition—schizencephaly—is getting worse. As a disabled minor, Skylar qualifies for Medicaid, and a Medicaid waiver for home care would help her family as they struggle to pay mounting health care costs.
But by last count, Skylar was number 754 on the wait list for a waiver.
How did this happen? Medicaid is meant for people like Skylar, but Obamacare’s perverse incentives flooded Medicaid with more people than the system can handle.
Medicaid for those Most in Need
In their attempt to increase health care coverage, Democrats provided in Obamacare massive incentives for states to expand Medicaid to able-bodied adults above the poverty line. Instead of helping these people to afford private insurance, Obamacare overstretched Medicaid. As a result, the gaps in Medicaid became chasms, leaving the poor, the sick, and the disabled behind.
Obamacare sent more money to support able-bodied adults than to help people like Skylar, all under the guise of helping people gain health care coverage. This isn’t compassionate; it’s wrong.
According to the latest national estimates, Skylar and her family are far from the only ones struggling with an overextended Medicaid. In fact, there are over 582,000 people in 42 states that remain on waiting lists for Medicaid’s home and community-based services. Here’s the breakdown:
- 349,511 individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities
- 155,697 aged, or aged and disabled, individuals
- 14,128 individuals with physical disabilities
- 58,635 children with disabilities
- 4,006 individuals with traumatic brain injury
In Skylar’s home state of Arkansas alone, 79 people with disabilities have died on this waiting list since the state expanded Medicaid.
Our Plan Will Fix This
Our legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare—the American Health Care Act—strikes the right balance. We can’t and we won’t leave those who gained coverage through their states’ Medicaid expansions in the cold, but we must refocus Medicaid to help those who need it the most. Our plan will
- Freeze new enrollment in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and grandfather in existing beneficiaries. States will continue to receive the same funding levels for those currently enrolled in Medicaid as long as those people remain eligible.
- Bend the cost curve of private insurance down and offer tax credits so that people who are not eligible for Medicaid will be able to access private insurance.
- Ensure Medicaid’s limited resources go to the patients most in need so that our safety net actually catches people like Skylar Olverman.
- Make Medicaid solvent and preserve the program for future generations.
The American Health Care Act offers the American people freedom, protection, and compassion. It’s the health care reform the American people need.