Sen. Raphael Warnock wants to change Manchin’s inflationary contract to increase government-sponsored health care to 4 million people.

  • Sen. Raphael Warnock reads the changes to the inflation contract that would expand Medicaid.
  • About 4 million people will enroll in the program, federal estimates show.
  • One estimate suggests it could cost the government $125 billion.

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia wants to see his party’s latest $740 billion health deal move forward.

He will introduce reforms that would provide state-funded health insurance to the state’s 4 million people with incomes below the poverty line, his office confirmed to Insider.

Warnock will introduce the changes as the Inflation Reduction Act goes to “vote-a-rama,” a marathon session of amendment votes that could change the final changes to the law. Early voting on the legislation begins Saturday.

The news about the change comes after the union of advocates in the southern countries sent a letter to senators on Wednesday and urged them to support Warnock’s Medicaid reform.

Without it, they warned, “the proposed bill will leave the poorest Americans behind at a time when abortion laws make access to health care more urgent.”

“Closing Medicaid coverage is the most equitable health policy Congress could pass,” the coalition said.

It is unclear how many senators will vote for the amendment, and Warnock’s office has not commented on how it would be implemented.

Depending on how the amendment is drafted, it could cost the government $125 billion through 2025, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Officethe federal government’s scoring agency.

States already have the option to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare.” In most states that have done this, people who earn $13,590 or less for a single person or $27,750 for a family of four pay nothing or very little for health care.

States that have not expanded Medicaid, however, have large uninsured populations. About 4 million people could join Medicaid if all states expanded the program, according to a federal government report written by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Several Republican-led states are refusing to expand Medicaid, mostly because of opposition to the proposal but also saying they don’t want to take the 10% of health care costs they would need from Obamacare. Under the law, the federal government picks up the remaining 90%.

Today, 12 states have not moved to expand Medicaid, including Georgia, Florida, and Texas.

Warnock is preparing for the election in Georgia. In November he will face Republican Herschel Walker, a former runner who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Senator he has called Medicaid exacerbates the equity problem. About 275,000 people in Georgia are uninsured because they can’t use the program, he said at a hearing in October 2021.

Meanwhile, the Inflation Reduction Act contains provisions that allow the federal government to set drug prices for seniors and would provide billions of dollars to the Obamacare health insurance “marketplace.” These plans are sold by private insurers to middle and high income earners, but the government subsidizes the premiums.

The Medicaid provision was included in the Build Back Better Act, a $2 trillion bill that passed the US House but failed to gain support in the Senate. Republicans, who hold 50 seats in the Senate, have opposed the plan, including Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Under the bill, people with incomes below the poverty line would be able to get private insurance in Obamacare’s “marketplaces.” The government may cover the full cost of medical care and may provide additional medical expenses that are paid at a doctor’s office or hospital.

It is unclear whether Warnock is following the same path with his change. Paying for private insurance is more expensive than paying for Medicaid.

The government has already offered to recoup Medicaid funding for two years under the $1.9 trillion stimulus package President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2021.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday that preliminary votes will begin Saturday on the Inflation Reduction Act. The senator, who is the judge of the Senate, still needs to finish reviewing the bill to make sure it complies with the Senate’s reconciliation rules, which would allow the Democrats to pass the bill with 50 senators and a tie vote. Vice President Kamala Harris.

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