Major veterans’ organizations are voicing fear over the potential passage of the Senate health care bill that will likely come up for a vote after the 4th of July holiday. They fear rising insurance costs and the VA’s inability to cover the gap.
Of the over 21 million veterans in the United States, only about 8 million of them receive health care from the VA. The others purchase insurance on state or federal exchanges, have employer-provided insurance, rely on Medicaid, or have no health insurance at all.
Paralyzed Veterans of America worry that proposed cuts to Medicaid could lead to the loss of insurance for hundreds of thousands of low-income veterans. Similarly, Disabled American Veterans and AMVETS are concerned that the VA, already facing an emergency $1 billion shortfall, won’t be able to handle more patients in the VA system.
1.7 million veterans now rely on Medicaid, and veterans between age 45 and 64 have benefitted from the tax credits offered under the Affordable Care Act.
The Congressional Budget Office says that if the Senate bill is passed, coverage losses would especially affect people between age 50 and 64, before they qualify for Medicare, and those with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line.
The law would reduce projected spending on Medicaid by $800 billion over the next ten years.