Republicans and Democrats Debate Over the Medicaid Program

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2017 9:27 PM

During a House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, Republicans voiced their strong opinions against the Medicaid program, while Democrats defended the Medicaid program and hyped the success of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The January 31 House subcommittee hearing, Medicaid Oversight: Existing Problems and Ways to Strengthen the Program, included the following comprehensive issues facing the Medicaid program:
• Fraud and potential solutions
• Benefits of expansion
• Program shortcomings

Republican subcommittee members turned their questions to the program’s shortcomings, including:
• Fraud
• Where potential savings might be identified

While the Democrats aimed their questions towards the following:
• The strengths of the program
• The number of beneficiaries covered through Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Oddly enough, Republicans did not mention a work requirement for Medicaid eligibility. Democrats like Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) continued to mention the success of Medicaid expansion in states like Florida and New York. They contrasted that with states like Texas, where conservative Republican governments rejected Medicaid expansion and long waits are not uncommon, according to Democrats.

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN-5) praised the “Healthy Indiana Plan,” which accepted Medicaid expansion via an 1115 waiver. The waiver permits federal money to be used for research and demonstration programs that are planned to further the Medicaid program. In Indiana’s case, able body beneficiaries make contributions to the plan. The plan is a HDHP/HSA.

The hearing was chaired by Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) and heard testimony from the following five witnesses:
• Josh Archambault from The Foundation for Government Accountability
• Paul Howard of The Manhattan Institute
• Ann Maxwell from the Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Health and Human Services
• Timothy Westmoreland from Georgetown University Law Center
• Carolyn Yocom of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

To watch the full hearing, click here.

For the full article, click here.

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