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How Congress’s plan for health care could affect Benjamin’s life

July 10, 2017 | By: Paula A. Bussard, Chief Strategy Officer

How Congress’s plan for health care could affect Benjamin’s life

Meet Benjamin of Shavertown, PA. Thanks to his Medicaid nurse, Benjamin is living and thriving with a disability, severe epilepsy.

Benjamin has a severe form of epilepsy that is very difficult to treat. Without warning, he experiences multiple types of seizures, including grand mal seizures where he stops breathing.

Nevertheless, Benjamin attends school with the help of his one-on-one nurse. She watches Benjamin for seizure activity and administers rescue medication when needed. Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program provides Benjamin with that nurse.

Congress’s plan for Medicaid could take away Benjamin’s nurse.

It’s complicated, and Congress’s plans are literally changing by the day.

But here’s what we know as of July 10. All of the plans that Congress, both the U.S. House and Senate, have put forth include big changes to the Medicaid program Benjamin counts on.

Both the House plan (the American Health Care Act) and the Senate plan (the Better Care Reconciliation Act) would send fewer federal dollars to state Medicaid programs, including Pennsylvania’s.

If Congress passed the Senate’s health care plan right now, the way it is today, our best estimates are that Pennsylvania would lose about $20 billion in Medicaid funding over the next 10 years.

Pennsylvania will have difficult decisions to make about Medicaid.

With the loss of these funds, our state may have to consider limiting the health care provided under its Medicaid program, including:

  • Services to help people like Benjamin, living with disabilities
  • Health care coverage for people and families with low incomes
  • Nursing home care for seniors of limited financial means

What if Benjamin’s nurse is one of the Medicaid services that are cut?

Should Congress reconsider its health plan, in light of the consequences it could have for Benjamin and others?

Please take a moment to share your concerns about Congress's health plan. Click here to share your thoughts.

Paula Bussard
Written by Paula Bussard

Paula Bussard is HAP’s chief strategy officer. Paula has more than 25 years of experience in health care policy and administration. Paula assists with creating organizational direction, and executing, communicating, and sustaining high-priority and strategic initiatives for HAP and its member hospitals and health systems.


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