Lynda Flowers is an AARP Public Policy Institute expert on Medicaid, health disparities and prevention/public health.

The Senate Health Reform Bill Would Slash Medicaid Severely

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) now under consideration in the Senate would drastically alter the Medicaid program. The proposed Senate bill would change the way the federal government funds Medicaid by limiting federal funding and shifting cost over time to states and Medicaid enrollees. BCRA would subject older adults, adults with disabilities, and children to mandatory per enrollee caps beginning in 2020. State Medicaid programs would have the option to choose between block grants and per enrollee caps for …

The American Health Care Act Would Make Unsustainable Cuts to Medicaid

Recent policy conversations related to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) have focused on  proposals that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s critical protection for people with preexisting conditions. This  controversial proposal has drawn a lot of attention for good reason. Eliminating this important protection, which keeps insurance companies in the individual (non-group) market from considering health status when making coverage decisions, could hurt millions — especially older adults who tend to develop more health conditions as they age. But …

Protecting People with Preexisting Conditions: Upton Amendment, as Reported, is Not Enough to Get the Job Done

The Upton Amendment to the health care bill, American Health Care Act (AHCA), is not sufficient to protect people with preexisting health conditions. According to one estimate, it would take $178 billion per year to adequately fund state high-risk pools, where people with preexisting health conditions would go to access health insurance coverage. However, the AHCA would only provide $15 billion annually for two years and then taper off to $10 billion annually for seven more years. And, this is …

State High-Risk Pools Failed Consumers in the Past — and Would Again

The revised  American Health Care Act (AHCA) threatens to do away with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for people with preexisting health conditions. These protections prevent insurance companies from denying these individuals coverage or charging them higher rates based on their health. Eliminating these protections could force millions of Americans to — once again — rely on state high-risk pools. State high-risk pools are supposed to provide access to health insurance for people who cannot get coverage in the …

Capping Medicaid Funding Could Hurt Millions of People With Disabilities and Poor Seniors

Medicaid is the country’s largest public health insurance program, providing access to needed health care and long-term services and supports  (LTSS) to millions of low-income Americans, including more than 17 million children with disabilities, adults with disabilities, and poor seniors. Right now, states and the federal government share the cost of Medicaid in a way that guarantees services to all who are eligible. Under this arrangement, federal funding increases (or decreases) in response to changes in enrollment, service costs and …

Closing the ‘Doughnut Hole’ Has Protected Millions of Medicare Beneficiaries From High Drug Costs

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to outpatient prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D. The standard benefit under Part D includes an annual deductible, an initial coverage period when enrollees pay 25 percent of their drug costs, and catastrophic coverage that limits enrollees’ spending to roughly 5 percent of their drug costs. One of the more striking characteristics of the Medicare Part D benefit is its “doughnut hole,” or coverage gap, where enrollees are required to pay the full …