Rather than cutting Medicaid, the Senate Republicans' healthcare reform bill, as with the House version of the bill will slow down the program's growth and bring its costs under control, Rep. Lee Zeldin said Monday.
"As you point out in the House bill, for anyone who is currently enrolled in Medicaid or enrolls in Medicaid by 2020, the federal government continues to pay that 90 percent enhanced federal match into perpetuity, as long as that person continues to stay in Medicaid," the New York Republican told CNN's "New Day" program.
Meanwhile, it doesn't "make sense" for everyone to be covered with the same formula, said Zeldin.
"If you have a state where the normal map is 50 percent for those on the lower end of Medicaid, the best way for the state to save money for the state is to actually reduce Medicaid costs on the more vulnerable and not the less vulnerable," said Zeldin. "It would make sense for everyone to be on that same funding formula. It doesn't go to zero."
The Congressional Budget Office, which has estimated 23 million people could lose healthcare coverage over the next 10 years through the House version of the bill, is expected to release its analysis on the Senate bill as early as Monday, but there are parts of the plan the CBO won't score, said Zeldin.
"The CBO is only scoring this one bill because in budget reconciliation, there are things you can't do that requires 60 votes in the entire Senate," said Zeldin. "Allowing policies to be sold across state lines, reducing costs of prescription drugs, malpractice reform, giving additional Medicaid flexibilities to governors, that's all part of the plan the CBO doesn't score."
Further, Zeldin said that eventually, everyone who wants health insurance will have acces to it, but it will take some time.
"You can't guarantee for over 300 million people that every single person is going to be covered to the standard that they want," said Zeldin, as there are states where there are no insurer in their exchanges.
"In those states they're trying to repair their individual market," he said. "That's going to include some changes where the state is going to be requesting flexibility from the federal government with regards to essential health benefits."
Also, with such limited options, the costs have gone so high that people can't afford to pay the costs of their deductibles, Zeldin said.
"If you can't afford your policy, don't have access to it, what you need is for those states to have more flexibility so they can repair the individual market and have options again," he concluded.
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