WASHINGTON — The battle over the future of Medicaid in the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has given little attention to how reduced funding will affect military veterans.
Veterans groups are now speaking out, saying rolling back financial support for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the low-income and vulnerable, could put at risk the 1.7 million veterans receiving Medicaid benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, they report, less than half of America’s veterans, about 43 percent, get health insurance coverage from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Those that don’t qualify have either served less than two years or have non-military related injuries, according to the Congressional Research Service. Still, others qualify but rely on private insurance for supplemental coverage or because they live in rural areas far from the nearest VA hospital.
In addition, about 660,000 spouses of veterans get health coverage through Medicaid, according to an estimate by Families USA, a pro-Affordable Care Act group, based on Census figures.
Paralyzed Veterans for America wrote to senators last week urging them not to pass the Republican health care bill that would also put millions of other Americans at risk if Medicaid is scaled back.