NAACP Strongly Opposes Draconian Cuts to Medicaid Program

AS PROPOSED BY EXTREMST MEMBERS OF THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CUTS WOULD DISPROPORTIONATAELY HURT RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES, RESULT IN FEWER HEALTH CARE SERVICES

Created in 1965, Medicaid currently serves more than 50 million Americans. It was originally intended to provide health care to low-income Americans who would not otherwise be able to afford it. Medicaid is jointly funded by the states and the federal government, and is managed by the states.

The extremist budget plan which passed the US House of Representatives on April 15, 2011, (but has not passed the US Senate) would dramatically restructure Medicaid by converting it to a “block grant” program, through which states are given a finite amount of money regardless of the health care needs of their populations and sharply cutting the program’s amount of money states receive from the federal government. The House budget plan would result in a reduction of the federal funds expended on Medicaid by 35% in 2022 and by 49% in 2030, compared to what the funding would otherwise be. This would certainly adversely affect tens of millions of low-income Medicaid beneficiaries by severely reducing or eliminating many of their health care options or by resulting in fewer people being eligible to participate in the program.

Dramatic cuts to Medicaid would be disproportionately severe among racial and ethnic minority Americans since we currently comprise 56% of the Medicaid population. Specifically, in 2009, 27% of African Americans—10 million people, including 6 million children—were covered by Medicaid. African Americans account for 1 in 5 Medicaid enrollees. In 2009, 27% of Hispanic Americans—13 million people, including 9 million children—were covered by Medicaid; Hispanics account for 1 in 4 Medicaid enrollees.

To compensate for the steep reductions in federal funding, states would be forced to make up the difference by contributing more or, if they cannot or will not provide additional funding they will likely cap enrollment, substantially scale back eligibility, and / or curtail benefits. Since most states in our country are suffering from budget shortfalls now, it is unlikely they will be able to compensate for any reduction in the federal contribution. Those most at risk of not receiving adequate health care under this proposal are seniors (communities of color currently make up roughly 43% of the elderly Medicaid population); people with disabilities (communities of color currently make up roughly 43% of the Medicaid population with disabilities); children (59% of children currently enrolled in Medicaid represent communities of color); working parents and pregnant women (communities of color represent 61% of the adult (parents and pregnant women) Medicaid population).

THE NAACP IS OPPOSED TO BUDGET CUTS WHICH DISPROPORTIONATELY HURT THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US AND RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES. THE NAACP IS STRONGLY OPPOSED TO PROPOSALS TO “BLOCK GRANT” MEDICAID AND REDUCE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THIS VITAL PROGRAM.

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