The people who will be hurt the most by Trump’s Medicaid plan

And these five vulnerable groups would bear the brunt of it.

A health care rally in advance of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. CREDIT: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
A health care rally in advance of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. CREDIT: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump promised not to touch Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. And just last week, Trump assured Americans that he would provide “insurance for everyone.”

But he’s breaking his promise. In recent days, the new administration has announced plans to slash Medicaid by turning it into a block grant.

An Urban Institute analysis of a previous Republican plan to block grant Medicaid concluded that the proposal would have caused between 14 and 20 million people to lose coverage over a 10-year period. And that’s on top of the nearly 11 million who would lose Medicaid coverage if the Affordable Care Act were repealed. That means a similar Trump health plan could take away Medicaid coverage from up to 31 million people over the next decade.

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Like Congressional leadership’s efforts to repeal the ACA and cut Medicare, Trump’s plan for Medicaid is not a solution to improve the program. Instead, these plans put our health care and economic security on the chopping block and will harm people and families across the board. Here are five groups that would bear the brunt of Trump’s proposed Medicaid cuts:

Seniors

Medicaid is often the last resort for families struggling to pay for long-term care for parents and other loved ones. It provides essential financial support to help people age in place as well as for people who need to turn to nursing facilities. In fact, nearly two-thirds of people in nursing homes rely primarily on Medicaid. Trump’s plan to slash Medicaid would leave families and their loved ones facing huge bills and impossible choices.

Children

Nearly 35 million children get their health care through Medicaid or the associated Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without this coverage, these children would be unable to afford basic care like going to a doctor when they’re sick or getting their teeth and eyes regularly checked.

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The benefits of Medicaid to family and child wellbeing are undeniable. With stable access to Medicaid coverage, children have a greater chance of growing up healthy, resulting in more productive days free from illness or injury. Children with Medicaid coverage tend to do better in school and have higher high school and college graduation rates, compared to children who’ve been left uninsured. This early investment leads to better paying jobs in adulthood, allowing them to provide for their own families — which means that Trump’s plan to cut Medicaid would hurt children not only now, but also in the future.

People with disabilities

In 2011, Medicaid provided essential services to more than 10 million people with disabilities to help them stay healthy and thrive. More than half of Medicaid funding for people with disabilities goes to home- or community-based services, providing critical support not only for people with disabilities but their caregivers as well. As disability rights advocate Ari Ne’eman wrote the day after the election, the kinds of cuts to Medicaid that Trump is proposing would “enable state officials to kick disabled adults and children out of life-preserving services,” which may mean that Americans with disabilities “effectively lack any rights to support services under federal law.”

Families

Families who have health coverage through Medicaid are less likely to experience financial hardships like increased debt because of an unexpected medical crisis. Having affordable, quality coverage through Medicaid helps reduces the stress that too many struggling families — particularly families of color — deal with at dangerous levels. Stress is a leading silent killer in American society that triggers diabetes, heart disease, stroke, accelerated aging, and even early death. By ensuring that coverage is and will be there when they need it, Medicaid provides families with crucial supports that allow them to focus more on making their family thrive. Trump’s planned cuts to Medicaid pose a dangerous threat to the families who can least afford to experience such a setback.

Women

Nearly 17 million women between the ages of 19 and 64 rely on Medicaid for essential health services, including reproductive care. In addition to providing this critical health care, Medicaid also enhances economic security and mobility for women and their children by reducing the likelihood that a medical crisis will lead to debt or bankruptcy and by allowing women to more easily enter the labor market or change jobs without fear that they or their families will lose health insurance. The Trump plan to slash Medicaid would endanger women’s access to this vital health program, worsening their economic security and mobility.

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Rejane Frederick is an Associate Director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF). Katherine Gallagher Robbins is the Director of Family Policy for the same program. ThinkProgress is an editorially independent site housed at CAPAF.