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  • To Reform Health Care and Restore Fiscal Responsibility, Don’t Forget Medicaid

    In 2010, both health care reform and the need for deficit reduction gained the policy spotlight. What was largely neglected as a crucial part of both of these discussions, however, is the need to reform Medicaid, the federal–state health program for low-income Americans.

    Recommendations to put the nation’s fiscal house back in order have come from the President’s deficit commission and other serious commentators, and have sparked a serious debate over how best to close growing budget gaps. Long-term deficits are almost completely the result of unsustainable growth in entitlement spending. Before passage of Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security alone were on track to consume all federal revenue by 2052. The new health law only accelerates the process.

    Unfortunately, as Heritage health policy expert Nina Owcharenko writes in a recent piece for Kaiser Health News, the commission’s final report “took a pass on offering any concrete, long-term recommendations” for Medicaid reform.

    Medicaid adds an unsustainable level of spending to both state and federal budgets. Total spending on the program this year alone was $430 billion. The program also fails to provide those it serves with adequate coverage in far too many cases.

    Representative Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R–LA), writes in Politico, “Medicaid is an illusion. It is the appearance of coverage—without the power of access.” Medicaid pays providers significantly less than private insurers do, and in many states, reimbursement does not even cover the cost of used services. This creates a barrier to access, since many providers can afford to see only a small number of Medicaid enrollees. Cassidy describes a teaching hospital in Baton Rouge, where, despite having been created for those without insurance, more than half of the patients treated are covered by Medicaid. The reason, according to Cassidy, is that Medicaid “does not provide access to health care anywhere else.”

    Obamacare did little to solve the issues afflicting current Medicaid beneficiaries or put the program on a fiscally sustainable path. It will actually put Medicaid in worse shape by adding nearly 18 million Americans to this poorly performing program.

    If Washington won’t take the lead in Medicaid reform, states should. In a recent paper, Owcharenko outlines the way forward after Obamacare, writing that states should begin by assessing the specific needs for change within their own Medicaid programs. They should then challenge the one-size-fits-all approach of Obamacare and demand more flexibility to implement reform, moving toward a system that is both sustainable and provides low-income Americans with the same quality of care available to the privately insured.

    By taking a bottom-up approach to reform, states can lead the way to transforming Medicaid into a sustainable program that better serves its beneficiaries.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to To Reform Health Care and Restore Fiscal Responsibility, Don’t Forget Medicaid

    1. Pingback: Tweets that mention To Reform Health Care and Restore Fiscal Responsibility, Don’t Forget Medicaid | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    2. Bobbie says:

      obama wants all private medical, dental services out of business so obama care has to move in. The only thing is, Obama could promote private insurance in respect of freedom and the responsibilities to be. Government designed crisis.

    3. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Medicaid would be even more of an illusion if there was full access. How much more expensive would it be if there was full access for existing qualifiers much less new ones as Obamacare will impose?

      Obama like to tell us that the insurance companies already ration care, but these wonderful government programs do so to an even greater degree. We must remind people that health insurance is really financial risk insurance; it's only intended to transfer risk like all other forms of insurance.

      Repeal Obamacare, and turn Medicaid over solely to the states with no federal mandates.

    4. Pam Waite, Cleveland says:

      Administrative changes for Medicaid is a must for all States whether or not ObamaCare moves forward! The following areas that should be considered are wrought with fraud: prescription plan for narcotics (these are gotten with tax payer dollars and then sold on the street); numerous folks on Medicaid who make more money than the middle class folk; no requirements for participants to stop smoking, take drugs, etc as private insurers mandate. There is only so much money that can be paid in taxes before it all collapses! If our citizens don't wake up we are going to look like Europe; although this President and many of his backers and supporters can hardly wait for that to happen!

    5. Justin T. Cooke, M.D says:

      Mr. Obama has made it very clear that he favors a government controlled single-payer healthcare system. The primary objective of Obamacare is to lead private insurers into bankruptcy by forcing them to adhere to industry standards that cannot possibly be maintained. The healthcare system will suffer greatly on all fronts as a direct result of Mr. Obama's policy. The fact that this administration is willing to sacrifice the quality of healthcare to reach a political end is disturbing and should not be taken lightly by the American public. Medicaid is a joke and, as suggested above, needs to be retooled before we can consider any change to be true healthcare reform.

    6. Lynda Meek Kingston, says:

      I am extremely conserned about the fact that i am on socail security disability and it was already bad enough and hard enough for me and others i know on disability to make ends meet and now i am currently having to go without food and not able to pay my rent because i have to pay for my my medications and doctors because ssi is refusing to pay for my medications and the doctor who is trying his best to save my life bu het is afraid to do so becuase my insurence and the governmnet is jumping down his throught everytime he wants to do something to help me get better! i currently have organ failure and the medications i take are only to save my life and my so called insurence wont pay for my medications at all! my insurence is damanding tht i go to a doctor that wont do anything to help me get better or stay stable in my health and i have to use the limited amount of money that i have that i need for rent and food to pay for my healthcare when im disabled! i dont know what to do and i wish someone would me and my family because if i dont get the proper medical help i will die and so will my other family and friends who are not getting the healthcare i need! and now im being told that its sapose to get worse and that now i dont get dental and many other needed things in 2011! someone needs to step up and help those like me who dont have the physical ability to get things done ourselves! i am bed ridden and cant handle what im already going through, if it gets worse for me i will die and i currently have to go without medications i need because i cant afford to pay out of pocket for it when my insurence/ssi should take care of me so that i dont have to suffer while im dieing! its notfair and there is so much more to be said about whats happening to people like me but right now i have to lay down before i end up in the emergency room again! please let someone help help all the poieple like me who are suffering or we will die! and this is a very serios problem that need not to just be talke about but actully have someothing done about it before we end out dead! I know of o few people that have already died because they couldnt afford to buy their medications like heart medication, diebetic medications and so many other medications! you know i didnt make a choice to be ill, i wanted to become a doctor and help others and i had the backing to go to collage but i never got the proper medicl help i needed so i could try my hand at life and thats not fair! i would love to one day get well enough to do something with my life and i could have a chance at it if i got the proper medical help! but right not i just would be greatful to be able to get out of bed and feel well enough so that i could get to the doctor and it be payed for, but i cant because i cant afford to buy all the medications i need, when i shouldnt even have that problem when im on ssi! there is so much wrong with medicaid and ssi already it doesnt need to get worse and that is what the president is doing, hes taking away more funding from us who need it the most! ITS TRUELY NOT FAIR!

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