Partial Obamacare Repeal Could Cost 13M Children Their Coverage

Bruce Japsen – CONTRIBUTOR : I write about health care and policies from the president’s hometown. (Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own)

A partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act could cost up to 13 million children to lose their health coverage if Congress scales back financial support of Medicaid for poor Americans and eligibility for kids’ health benefits falls to new minimum levels.

Under the law signed six years ago by President Obama, millions of Americans gained coverage when the ACA provided states a generous federal funding to expand Medicaid. There are 31 states plus the District of Columbia that adopted Medicaid expansion under the ACA, including states led by Republican governors like Ohio’s John Kasich and New Jersey’s Chris Christie.

But Republicans control the U.S. Senate and House with an ally in the White House in Donald Trump who will allow them to scale back coverage gains, particularly if lawmakers use budgetary maneuvers that allow legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority. If that is done with the law repealed without an immediate replacement, millions will lose eligibility, according to the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center.

“We find that 4.4 million children and 7.6 million parents could lose coverage in 2019 if Congress’s budget reconciliation process repeals pieces of the ACA without a replacement plan,” researchers at the Urban Institute wrote in a report released Wednesday called “Partial Repeal of the ACA through Reconciliation: Coverage Implications for Parents and Children.”