Medicaid is a critical source of health coverage and an important safety net for the one in five low-income individuals the program covers. By providing access to care for so many Americans, Medicaid plays a vital role in helping enrollees prevent and manage chronic conditions such as chronic kidney disease and its leading causes, diabetes and hypertension.
AKF strongly supports the core statutory objective of the Medicaid program, which is “to furnish medical assistance [to individuals] whose income and resources are insufficient to meet the cost of necessary medical services.” Therefore, AKF opposes policy proposals that would undermine Medicaid’s core objective, such as those included in recent Section 1115 demonstration waivers that have been approved or are pending. Changes to Medicaid eligibility and benefits, such as imposing work or service requirements, lifetime coverage limits, lock-out penalties, elimination of retroactive eligibility, and elimination of non-emergency medical transportation, do not further the statutory purpose of the Medicaid program. Rather, these policy changes will increase administrative burden, complexity and costs, which create barriers to coverage for eligible individuals and lead to fewer people, especially vulnerable populations, with access to health care.
AKF also opposes proposals that would change the Medicaid program’s open-ended federal matching fund structure to a block grant or per capita cap system. Capped spending proposals would lead to decreased eligibility and enrollment, harmful cuts to benefits and care, and lessen the ability of state Medicaid programs to respond to an increased need for coverage, such as during a recession—all of which would be in direct conflict with the statutory purpose of the Medicaid program.