As the election nears, experts and advocates are turning up the heat on dueling healthcare visions.  According to a study recently released by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the FY 2013 GOP House-passed budget plan to repeal President Obama’s ACA and restructure Medicaid as a block grant program would cut Medicaid spending by $1.7 trillion by 2022 and would result in dropping 37.5 million people from the Medicaid rolls. Vice Presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan played a key role in formulating the FY 2013 budget plan including Medicaid block grant restructuring.  In response to media reports surrounding the release of the report, Romney’s campaign has stated, “Romney’s Medicaid plan differs from the one modeled in the report because it allows states to experiment with the program..."

The FY 2013 GOP budget proposed repealing the ACA and restructuring the Medicaid program from an entitlement based program to a block grant program.  The report, Medicaid and the Uninsured, determined that repealing the ACA would result in $932 billion dollars in savings and restructuring Medicaid to a block grant structure would save an additional $810 billion dollars, respectively.  The report assumed that state governments will be forced to reduce their increased Medicaid burden by steeply curtailing enrollment criteria in calculating the potential 37.5 billion people cut from the Medicaid rolls.  In Illinois, $53.8 billion dollars would be cut from Medicaid by 2022 equaling a reduction of 35% of Illinois’ total Medicaid funding.  Additionally, the report projected that almost 1.5 million Illinoisans would be dropped from Medicaid.

In a presidential election where health care reform and federal debt reduction are hotly contested issues, the experts are capitalizing on the uncertainty surrounding the effects of the ACA and the potential effects of competing GOP proposals by releasing strategically timed reports.