Fitch: Changes to Medicaid in ACA repeal bill pose risks for hospitals

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House Republicans’ proposed ACA repeal and replacement plan, known as the American Health Care Act, calls for changes to Medicaid that expose states and hospitals to new fiscal risks, according to a Fitch Ratings report.

The AHCA would eliminate Medicaid’s entitlement structure and restructure the program’s federal funding to a per-capita cap system on Jan. 1, 2020. This change is intended to slow Medicaid spending growth. The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured estimates switching to a per-capita cap system would reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $1 trillion (or 26 percent) over 10 years. This reduction would require states to make significant budgetary changes and could result in reduced reimbursement for hospitals, according to the report.

The AHCA calls for the government to freeze expanded Medicaid programs on Jan. 1, 2020, and restrict funding only to people who were enrolled in the expanded programs as of Dec. 31, 2019. Under the ACHA, states that expanded Medicaid “will be faced with a unique policy predicament of denying Medicaid access to individuals who would otherwise qualify beginning in 2020, or taking on significant costs they had anticipated would be bored largely by the federal government,” according to Fitch.

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