by Madeleine Hubbard
Democrats are trying to paint Republicans as enemies of Medicaid, but Florida GOP Rep. Daniel Webster is gaining support for a bill that would provide a tax deduction to healthcare providers in exchange for pro bono health services for people who rely on Medicaid or CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Webster’s Helping Everyone Access Long Term Healthcare Act, or HEALTH Act, would amend the IRS code to allow medical professionals to take a tax deduction for the value of service performed, which he says will reduce the amount of paperwork associated with the low-income healthcare systems.
The Association of Mature American Citizens, which bills itself as an “honest, active and conservative” group for Americans over the age of 50, applauded Webster’s bill.
Many physicians have stopped treating Medicaid patients because while they may spend 20 minutes with the patient, they could spend hours trying to track down their reimbursement, AMAC Senior Vice President Andy Mangione told The John Solomon Reports podcast last week. He said the goal of the bill is to “increase access to quality health care for low-income folks” by giving “physicians the opportunity to practice charity care in their own office in their communities.”
The program is a free-market solution that could also save billions of dollars for Medicaid, according to Mangione. “It just makes too much sense,” he said.
Free2Care, a coalition of 34 physician and patient organizations with over 8 million members, also voiced support for Webster’s bill and said it could save Medicaid and CHIP programs billions of dollars while “strengthening the safety net for a vulnerable segment of society.”
The group said: “The long-term, personal relationships this at-risk demographic would experience by routinely seeing a primary care physician for chronic conditions would break the cycle of expensive care Medicaid patients traditionally seek in the emergency department for non-emergent cases and lead to better healthcare outcomes.”
The bill comes as the Biden administration and Democrats have been criticizing Republicans for considering implementing work requirements for some Medicaid recipients in their debt limit extension bill.
For example, less than two weeks ago, the Department of Health and Human Services released an analysis claiming that “approximately 21 million Americans’ health coverage and access to care would be jeopardized if the draconian Medicaid work reporting requirements proposed by Congressional Republicans were implemented.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 1.5 million people would lose Medicaid coverage but states that the GOP bill would reduce public debt by $0.5 trillion.
– – –