The GOP has a new strategy for fiscal restraint: Stop rewarding states for enrolling children in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program with incentives proven to work. That may cost some vulnerable young people their health, but it’ll save some money!
These rewards were put in place to make sure that eligible people actually get covered by these programs. The federal incentives motivate states to simplify enrollment and renewal requirements, and they have helped more than 1 million youngsters get coverage. It also reduces the amount of uncompensated care that doctors and hospitals have to provide.
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to eliminate these bonuses to the states.
According to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
Eliminating the bonuses would save only about $400 million, the Congressional Budget Office says — just a tiny fraction of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s required $97 billion in savings and unnecessary in any event, since the committee’s total savings package well exceeds $97 billion even without the bonus provision. Moreover, removing an incentive for states to help more eligible children get coverage could have a large and harmful impact on many children’s lives.
Eliminating these bonuses means fewer children will get the health care they are entitled to. Someone ought to tell the Republicans it’s really hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if a preventable or treatable health problem keeps dragging you down.