Washington D.C. — On a new episode of the Center for American Progress’ “Thinking CAP” podcast, released this morning ahead of the Senate’s revised Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) draft, Kathleen Sebelius—former health and human services secretary and former Democratic governor of Kansas—sits down with co-hosts Michele Jawando and Igor Volsky to discuss Congress’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As a former governor, Sebelius was quick to call out the argument that cuts to Medicaid would allow governors more flexibility over the needs of their constituents, a common argument for the BCRA’s overhaul of the Medicaid program’s financing.
“We have 11,000 people a day turning 65, we’re going to have more people in nursing homes, more people needing home health care so they can remain independent, more poor seniors then we have today,” said Sebelius on the podcast. “I think it is absolutely an assault on the lowest-income individuals, the most vulnerable individuals, and the notion that governors have flexibility. Flexibility to do what?”
As Sebelius noted, the population of Medicaid recipients is made up of 2 million children and adults with disabilities. Medicaid pays for two-thirds of the 1.5 million low-income seniors living in nursing homes. Medicaid is currently paying for nearly one-half of the births across this country. Of the babies born in any state in the country, about 40 percent have their health insurance through Medicaid.
“So when Congress in a very disingenuous way says “We’re going to give governors the flexibility, we’re going to cut the program as much as 20 percent over the next 10 years, but you have the flexibility’,” said Sebelius, “I think it’s a moral outrage.”
Volsky and Jawando’s interview with Kathleen Sebelius is the 13th episode in a new podcast series from the Center for American Progress launched in May 2017. “Thinking CAP” is a weekly podcast about the ideas, issues, and solutions that lead us to march, chant, and raise our voices to participate in our democracy.
The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, and CAP’s website.
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