The White House is in the final stages of readying the 2018 fiscal budget that seeks to resolve the economic deficits the government is currently facing. Central to its plan of achieving this goal is making drastic cuts to mean-titled entitlement programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, child nutrition programs, the Pell Grant program and food stamps.
This development comes as a surprise, especially after President Trump had made it a focal point of his campaign that he will not be cutting into these programs. While reports indicate that the budget changes will primarily be focusing on means-tested programs, there is also word that the Social Security Disability Insurance program will also be affected by these changes.
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Medicaid has played a big role in keeping millions of Americans adequately insured and protected with a viable health coverage. Specifically designed to make healthcare more accessible to low-income Americans, Medicaid implements a strict standard before an individual can be declared eligible for the benefits offered.
Many of the beneficiaries of Medicaid are elderly or disabled. The program’s existence is crucial to states delivering quality healthcare to their constituents. States and local governments must carefully balance their budgets to have adequate resources to allocate for this program.
Medicaid as well as the rest of the components of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) remains under threat of repeal and replacement. It had a very close call only recently, but the reprieve is short as another proposal has now been passed by the GOP.
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Last year, local hospitals reported good records despite the challenges in revenue cycle management. Increasing operating costs, regulatory issues, flat reimbursements and the switch from patient volumes to lower-paying outpatient and observation services didn’t faze many healthcare providers. Thanks to a strong stock market and lower tax-exempt bond costs, hospitals continued to do well.
While this is good news, providers can’t be complacent now with the changes and regulations awaiting the Affordable Care Act. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. House Republicans recently gave the greenlight to a bill that would revise the 2009 Obamacare. It still needs to get the approval of the Senate, but many are concerned about the impact it will have if it’s passed.
Repealing the Expansion of Medicaid
One of the major concerns is Medicaid expansion. If the bill pushes through and removes that program, it will affect people who are enrolled in it, along with the revenue of their associated hospital. St. John Providence Health System in Warren, for example, has seven hospitals and 670,000 people enrolled in Medicaid. Non-profit hospitals like these will be the hardest hit when Medicaid expansion is repealed.
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