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  • Congress Continues to Deny Reality of Medicaid

    When a trade reporter asked a group of health policy analysts this week to identify the one issue Democrats in Congress won’t address as they push health reform legislation, Heritage health policy analyst Dennis Smith was quick to point out that a Medicaid expansion is an incoming pandemic to federal and state budgets.

    Expansions of Medicaid — the federal health program for the poor that is administered and partially paid by the states administered — are in nearly all of the health care overhaul bills currently being considered in Congress. As Smith notes in his most recent research:

    Over the period 2010-2019, the House bill would spend $438 billion to expand Medicaid to all individuals with incomes up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or FPL ($16,245 for an individual, $33,075 for a family of four) and $773 billion to provide new public subsidies to individuals between 150 percent and 400 percent of the FPL ($43,320 for an individual, $88,200 for a family of 4).

    But the proposal worsens what’s already a bleak situation, Smith told the audience of the health reform briefing sponsored by the Alliance for Health Care Reform. “Putting another 11 million to 15 million people on Medicaid is not realistic,” Smith said.

    “The program already is unsustainable and it’s a huge issue that Congress is not dealing with.” Currently, about 90 million Americans receive health care services through Medicaid and Medicare, federal health programs that the Medicare Trustee Board has said will go broke in less than a decade. Additionally, Medicaid is one of the biggest budget busters for most states, with many cutting back on other vital services to make up for shortfalls created by demand in services through Medicaid.

    The national expansions Congress wants for Medicaid do nothing to address the cost issue, Smith said. “Because the overall cost of health care is not being reduced, expansion of coverage — largely through new government programs — will require even more taxpayer subsidies,” he said in his report.

    Smith argued these expansions fail to meet Americans’ expectations and demands (highlighted this weekend at anti-government protests in Washington) that any health reform legislation lower unnecessary health care spending.

    Also, individual mandates and the provisions on employer-sponsored health insurance will make it harder for low-income people to comply with the proposed legislation because they won’t be able to afford the new costs, Smith said. “The provisions in the bills to prevent people from dropping employer-sponsored health insurance will make them pay for something that is even more expensive. It will create inequities for more financially vulnerable populations,” he said.

    While panelists at the health reform briefing were unanimous that some health reform bill would pass this year, several including Smith questioned how big or effective that bill would be once it arrived at President Obama’s desk.

    “There are so many competing values present in the health care debate that it’s going to be hard to reconcile them. Things like financing health reform, proposed Medicare cuts and where the economy is now are going have an important impact on any final legislation,” said.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Congress Continues to Deny Reality of Medicaid

    1. Sarah Threet, Sawyer says:

      Health care doesn't need to be overhauled, it just needs to be patched. There are many people who choose not to have health insurance but do pay their own doctor bills.

      There are many people who could afford health insurance but don't have it because they spend their money on frivolous things such as casinos, etc.

      There are many factors in why people don't have their own health insurance rather it be by choice or finances. I do not understand why everyone should be forced into an overhaul when this just isn't necessary.

    2. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      I won't be blogging much longer.

      If this idiotic agenda continues, I will most assuredly be declared insane and institutionalized.

      At least I won't have to listen to how we can grow money on trees.

    3. Patty's girl says:

      Often, those who are eligible for health benefits decline the coverage. Why? 1. they don't want to pay for coverage; 2. they use state funds (medical assistance) 3. they use ER rooms for routine care. The same group who uses state funds also decline to pay child support, they quit when wages are attached – even going so far as to say "I'll do the 7 months (in jail) rather than pay support.

      Good luck trying to collect the penalty for choosing not to participate. Not gonna work!

    4. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      There are always going to be those who can not afford health Insurance, these people are covered by medicaid, and by LAw no one can be turned away from an ER by ability to pay or not. There are then those who do not want to pay for Insurance as they feel they pay for nothing, or would rather use that money for the new TV,car etc. They also can afford to pay for their normal medical expenses. Most of us carry Insurance either from employer or through a medigap policy and some on Insurance they bought on their own. Let me clarify one thing, Medicare is NOT FREE to seniors, 1st we had it deducted from our pay, then we have almost a $100 a month taken out of our Soc. SEc. and Medigap cost over $150 a month,now tell me what is FREE about it.

    5. Jerry from Chicago says:

      It's easy to say we will "make" everyone buy health insurance. There is no way to enforce such an edict and Max Baucus knows this.

      I live in a state where automobile insurance is mandatory. In the last two years I have been hit by other people, who ran into to me from behind. Once by a drunken driver, who fled the scene and was later apprehended and once by someone who was sober. Last year, my youngest daughther and her husband were rear-ended by a drunken driver, also a drunk driver who fled the scene and was later apprehended. In all three of these cases, the drivers causing the accidents had no insurance. Two were driving on suspended licenses and one was an illegal alien. And a drivers license was not the only document this "undocumented" alien didn't have – he had no insurance, no job, no US citizenship, no green card and no business in the US.

      When the two drunken drivers were finally apprehended and brought to trial, these two guys (who couldn't afford auto insurance) both showed up in court with lawyers. Insurance they couldn't afford, but lawyers they could afford. In Illinois, the penalty for fleeing the scene of an accident is less than that for driving while impaired. These people flee the scene so that when they are finally apprehended it can't be proven what the level of alchol was in their blood.

      These are the people that the government is going to require to "buy" health insurance. Don't make me laugh.

    6. Peggy Cunningham, St says:

      Do our troops not have the same constitutional rights as we do?? (Freedon of Speech)

      DeKalb County Record-Herald

      DeKalb County Record-Herald – Missouri This is a "reprint" of an article in the DeKalb County ( Missouri ) Record-Herald written by Charlie Stokes. Mr. Stokes is the Area Agronomy Agent / County DirectorMSU Extension Service.

      "I wanted to give y'all some disturbing information on our wonderful president. I work with the Catch-A-Dream Foundation which provides hunting and fishing trips to children with life-threatening illnesses. This past weekend we had our annual banquet / fundraiser event in Starkville . "As a part of our program, we had scheduled Sgt. 1st Class Greg Stube, a highly decorated U.S. Army Green Beret andinspirational speaker who was severely injured while deployed overseas and didn't have much of a chance for survival. Greg is stationed at Ft. Bragg and received permission from his commanding officer to come speak at our function. "Everything was on go until Obama made a policy that NO U.S. . SERVICEMAN CAN SPEAK AT ANY FAITH-BASED PUBLIC EVENTS ANYMORE. Needless to say, Greg had to cancel his speaking event with us. Didn't know if anyone else was aware of this new policy. "Wonder what kind of news we all will receive next. You're just starting to see the Obamanation. Your religion is on the list next." I don't know about you, but this makes me furious. What a rotten thing to do by the "commander-in-chief". And I'm afraid we ain't seen nothin' yet.

      May the Lord bless……….

    7. Slick - Nebraska says:

      I have used up the last of my "miracle grow" for the hundred dollar-bill-tree in my backyard early in May of this year. This poor tree has no leaves and has been stripped bare since early spring, April 15th as a matter of fact. I don't know what I can do that will make more leaves grow and am really worried if it will even leaf out next spring. What I am wondering is if I could have some of that Washington B.S. shipped in, would that take care of the problem??? I live in ranch country, and our manure is too weak to make the difference!!!

      Bill, take heart!!! November, 2010 is only 14 months away . . perhaps you should hang on because I hear that you won't be able to get any medical help from now on unless you are over 65. Then they will give you "end of life" counseling and solve all THEIR problem . . . and yours!!!!!

    8. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      The Federal and State Governments have always failed to acknowledge the existence of the 'Baby Boomers" or the "War Babies", as they are often called.

      These group of people, from their first day have never been in a a school that was not being built. A city that was not growing rapidly. A group that was from the beginning told that they had to go on to Higher Education, and this being before student loans and such.

      Even campuses were not prepared for them. The Freshman Classes far outnumbered the rest of the classes added together.

      When these Babies graduated they could go to War, or try to find work. It was no longer as it was with their fathers and grand fathers, where generations would work at the same factory or plant or business of some kind. There were far to many workers for to few jobs. The only real job opening was Vietnam, and that wasn't really a career.

      Now these Baby Boomers are beginning to retire and our Federal and State Governments, in spite of having had over sixty years to plan, have no idea what to do with us!

      No planning what-so-ever, for a sixty plus year project, and yet we, America keep trusting these Bozos to help us?

      Lots of luck!

      Hozro

    9. Frank25 says:

      Browsing the net due to economy, I find every state I checked, plans to release prisoners from jail or prisons early. Also plan to close mental facilities to reduce expenses. This will result in a very large increase in Medicare and Medicaid expenses, since those facilities presently are budgeted for in State budget, augmented by Federal funds. When my son's job was outsourced, during qualifying period, Wife and I took 2 grandchildren to local hospital where we paid $150 to $200 for their care. Had to wait until uninsured (no ID, no insurance)children were seen, since they ran, screamed, and got priority treatment to return to quiet area. And they did not have to answer questions or show any documents. Why would they sign up for insurance, making it easy for ICE to find them? And young people to age 25 think they are invincible and will live forever, so why would they buy insurance? Forcing all to have insurance without increasing number of providers ensures higher costs, rationing, and cutoff of some services now available.

    10. Ben Franklin, IN says:

      The fraud in these federal programs is ASTOUNDING. I could probably name 10 people that I know who are on Social Security Disability. Only 1 of them is actually unable to work because of that disability. I could probably think of 10 people that I know who are on Medicaid. Not a single one of them is unable to find a job that would provide medical insurance benefits. Everybody I know who is drawing federal "poor" benefits is capable of improving their lot, but they have chosen to be where they are. At one time, I was a preacher for a small church & even in our small congregation of barely 50 persons, we had a converted class room as a food pantry FULL of free food that members had donated for us to hand out to those in need. We couldn't get rid of the food, and the members themselves had to be asked to take some of it every so often because we ran out of room to store it. Yet, the congregants had family members who recevied food stamps from the government.

    11. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Dear Slick in Nebraska,

      You are right. It could be much worse. In our "new society" I could be ordered to work for ACORN.

    12. Marshall,Michigan says:

      The Unifier is now going to raise Taxes under the

      guise of Health Care,Cap and Tax and many other

      schemes!

    13. Pingback: In the Green Room: David Goldhill on How American Health Care Killed His Father | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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