Maryland advocates resist efforts to target Medicaid in federal funding fights – The Baltimore Sun

Things began to unravel for Ramar Robinson about three years ago when he was laid off and hit with a diagnosis of depression and mania. The illnesses would require costly therapy, which he could no longer afford.

So the 26-year-old Baltimore County man wound up on Medicaid — the federal program for low-income families now at the center of the debate over Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and President Donald J. Trump‘s $4 trillion budget proposal.

“Medicaid really did save my life,” said Robinson, who was able to access regular sessions with a therapist and psychiatrist, put his illness into remission and get back to work. “It is due time for society to know what those services really provide and the lives that are being saved daily.”

Congressional Republicans return to work Monday after the Memorial Day recess facing enormous pressure to make progress on replacing the Affordable Care Act — a years-long campaign promise — but also fissures within the party about how to do so. A leading cause of the internal strife is how to handle proposed cuts to Medicaid.

Trump’s budget proposal would deepen those reductions by another $600 billion nationwide — leading to an estimated $2 billion annual loss in Maryland, according to the Maryland Center on Economic Policy.

That number, which represents just under 5 percent of the state’s $43.5 billion budget, may explain why Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has been more vocal on the Medicaid cuts than any other provision included in the federal care legislation.

It also partly explains why the legislation is facing skepticism on Capitol Hill, even among some Republicans who support doing away with Obamacare.

“The health bill that passed the House will threaten health care and therefore worsen the lives of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders,” said Benjamin Orr, executive director of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy. “It’s a devastating bill.”

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