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Delaware could lose billions if Congress passes new Obamacare repeal bill

Sarah Mueller
DHSS Secretary Kara Odom Walker

State officials warn the proposed cuts to federal health care spending in GOP's current Affordable Care Act repeal bill will make insurance harder and more expensive to get for many Delaware residents.

That may mean more people with mental illness and addiction issues go without treatment.

Republican Senators plan to vote next week on this latest attempt to repeal Obamacare. They're proposing cutting Medicaid spending and capping the amount of federal dollars to states. More than 200,000 Delaware residents have Medicaid.

Annie Slease of the National Alliance on Mental Illness said her son’s mental health problems led to addiction, homelessness and prison, and that will happen in more families if funding is cut.

“Someone living with a serious mental illness is more likely to interact with law enforcement than with a mental health provider. That’s now. Imagine the impact if even fewer people are receiving treatment.”

Many people with Medicaid are seniors, pregnant women, children and the disabled.

Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Kara Odom Walker said the First State would have to make difficult decisions if Congress cuts Medicaid spending to states. Odom Walker said Delaware could lose as much as $18 billion over the next 10 years from the cuts.

“We also know it affects our seniors, which are a growing segment of the population here in Delaware, where six out of 10 Delaware seniors are covered by those on Medicaid," she said. "Where will they go when federal dollars are cut?”

She said if it passes, they may have to limit enrollment or come up with additional state money to replace the loss of federal aid.

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