Those who run the state of Washington’s community based health clinics are worried what the passage of the US Senate proposed health reform plan would mean.
Much of the information contained in the Senate health plan is still unknown to the general public, since it was just released, after being put together in secrecy. What is known at this point, is that it would phase out the extra money that the federal government provides to states as an incentive to expand eligibility for Medicaid. It would also repeal virtually all of the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to pay for itself.
Leanne Berge is the CEO of Community Health Plan of Washington and the Community Health Network. She says if the proposal is passed the result would be devastating for the clinics and those who receive Medicaid in the state:
“What this relates to is a very different structure for how Medicaid is funded that reduces the obligation of the federal government over time. While it’s not obvious initially the extent of the cuts, as any expert who has evaluated this in the past has agreed, the cuts would be really dramatic, and it would impact all aspects of the Medicaid program.”
There are 1.9 million people on Medicaid in Washington, many of whom came on the rolls because of the expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Berge says the majority of patients at the state’s community clinics are enrolled in Medicaid.