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Breaking Down BCRA: The Senate Health Care Overhaul & Florida

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Photo: Sen. Mitch McConnell's office via Facebook
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The U.S. Senate could vote by July on a bill that promises sweeping changes to health care in America. The Better Care Reconciliation Act, a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare), promises to reduce the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. It could also strip healthcare from 15 million Americans by 2018. Other proposed cuts to Medicaid likely see that number grow.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's review of BCRA, the bill would fundamentally change how the federal government appropriates funding for Medicaid, the federal program that currently pays for health coverage for 69 million low-income Americans, including children and seniors. The BCRA proposes shrinking federal spending on Medicaid by 26 percent through 2026, a decrease of roughly $772 billion dollars over ten years.

Estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation also estimate the costs for premiums (the amount a person pays each month for health insurance) under BCRA in Florida could change: from a reduction of roughly 10 percent a year in Charlotte County to an increase from 20 to 40 percent in Collier and Lee Counties.

Dr. Jack Hoadley, a Medicaid researcher and professor at Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, joins the show to discuss how BCRA proposals to Medicaid funding could play out in Florida and across the country. 

Sharing the perspective of Florida health care providers who are watching the Senate bill and the overall effort by Congress to overhaul healthcare, is Andrew Behrman, the president and CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers. He'll share his perspective on how BCRA changes to health care and health insurance could affect "safety net" health care providers, like community health centers and clinics, in Florida.
And Dr. Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, a director of government relations and the National Association of School Psychologists, joins the program to talk about how education services, some of which are funded by Medicaid, could be affected by health care reform.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.