Business & Tech

Groups urge Baker to oppose possible Medicaid cuts

President Donald Trump, flanked by Independence Blue Cross CEO Daniel J. Hilferty, left, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson, speaks during a meeting with health insurance company executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Trump, flanked by Independence Blue Cross CEO Daniel J. Hilferty( left) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson, speaks during a meeting with health insurance company executives at the White House on Monday.

More than two dozen groups representing Massachusetts hospitals, nonprofits, labor unions, and other organizations are urging Governor Charlie Baker to oppose any federal policy changes that could threaten Medicaid coverage for thousands of poor and disabled people across the state.

President Trump and the Republican-led Congress say they will replace key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, a move that could include Medicaid cuts. Trump spoke with Baker and other governors Monday, again calling for an overhaul of the health care law.

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Medicaid, known here as MassHealth, is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. It covers about 1.9 million people in Massachusetts, including about 300,000 who gained coverage after Obamacare made more people eligible.

Many Republicans in Washington support policies that would cap Medicaid funding at a fixed amount, instead of paying a certain percentage of states’ costs.

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“We oppose block grants, caps, and any agreement cutting the federal share of Medicaid in our state,” the 28 Massachusetts organizations said in their letter to Baker. “We believe that any such ‘cap’ inevitably would result in rationed care, eligibility and benefit reductions, and reduced financial support to providers who care for MassHealth members.”

Groups sent similar letters to Republican governors in four other states. The letters were coordinated by Protect Our Care, a national coalition that is lobbying against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Organizations that signed the Massachusetts letter include a local division of the Service Employees International Union, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Health Care For All, the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, and the Massachusetts Medical Society.

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Baker, a Republican, has already told congressional leaders that he opposes the idea of the federal government giving the state a lump sum to fund Medicaid, instead of paying about half of the program’s costs as it does now.

“Governor Baker has repeatedly conveyed to federal officials that any changes, including block grants, resulting in a reduction of federal support for Massachusetts are unacceptable,” Lizzy Guyton, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in an e-mail on Monday.

Baker and other governors on Monday also met with the new US Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, who indicated that he wanted to work with them on the health care law and simplify issues around rules and regulations, Baker administration officials said. Baker argued for flexibility in federal policy so Massachusetts can restore certain elements of its landmark health care law from 2006.

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.
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