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Morning Bell: Bringing Medicaid into the Debate
Posted By Amy Payne On August 21, 2012 @ 9:18 am In Obamacare | Comments Disabled
Medicare is an emotionally charged program because it provides health insurance coverage for the elderly. But Medicaid covers America’s poor and disabled—and no one wants to see them harmed, either.
However, like Medicare, Medicaid is also in desperate need of reform if it is to continue serving the people it was designed to serve. Nearly one-third of America’s doctors  are already opting out of treating Medicaid patients—because their costs often outweigh what the program pays for care.
States—which already have budget crises of their own—share the cost of Medicaid with the federal government. They can’t afford to simply add more people to Medicaid, which is one of Obamacare’s main ways to insure more people. (The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision gave states some breathing room when it ruled that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion  must be optional for states.)
The program already covers 62.5 million people—about 20 percent of America’s population—and federal spending on Medicaid has no limit. That’s right—there are no limits on federal spending for Medicaid. But there are limits on American taxpayers’ wallets.
Simply adding people to Medicaid should not be the goal. Instead, like other welfare reforms, the goal should be helping people while they’re down—and helping them get back up.
For those who are on Medicaid because of low incomes, the program should be reformed to empower them. Medicaid dollars should follow the individual, so that beneficiaries can choose the coverage they want and participate in the private market like the rest of their fellow citizens. They deserve to have more control over their health care and more personalized options. The Heritage Foundation has outlined such a reform in its Saving the American Dream  plan.
The Saving the American Dream plan starts  by transitioning non-disabled individuals out of government-run Medicaid and into premium support, where they would have the same private health care options as others. “Premium support” simply means that the health care payment goes with the individual to the plan of his or her choice. For a low-income individual trying to get ahead, the premium support amount could be used to pay the employee’s share of an employer plan or to purchase individual coverage.
For the low-income elderly, who are caught in a complex, bureaucratic combination of Medicare and Medicaid, the Saving the American Dream plan would provide a coordinated care model like Medicare Advantage, while allowing Medicaid to provide additional assistance as necessary. Again, the result would be more control for the individual over the health care dollars and decisions.
Finally, the plan would restore traditional Medicaid to a true safety net—intended to help those with disabilities—while providing greater flexibility to the states to address the complex needs of these populations.
Heritage’s Nina Owcharenko outlines three crucial steps to Medicaid reform :
Medicaid needs reforms that will give America’s poor and disabled the health coverage they need, without bankrupting taxpayers. This type of reform is possible, and the sooner we get started, the better.
Medicaid: More Than a Block Grant Is Needed  by Nina Owcharenko
Don’t Expand Medicaid—One-Third of Doctors Are Already Opting Out of It  by Alyene Senger
The Supreme Court’s Medicaid Decision: The Obamacare Mess Just Got Messier  by Nina Owcharenko
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/21/morning-bell-bringing-medicaid-into-the-debate/
URLs in this post:
 one-third of America’s doctors: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/09/dont-expand-medicaid-one-third-of-doctors-are-already-opting-out-of-it/
 Medicaid expansion: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/07/obamacare-fallout-from-the-supreme-court-and-medicaid-expansion
 Saving the American Dream: http://www.savingthedream.org/about-the-plan/
 starts: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/05/three-steps-to-medicaid-reform
 Florida’s Medicaid Reform Shows the Way to Improve Health, Increase Satisfaction, and Control Costs: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/11/floridas-medicaid-reform-shows-the-way-to-improve-health-increase-satisfaction-and-control-costs
 reports: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2012/aug/21/syria-crisis-weapons-obama-live?newsfeed=true
 reports: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/iran-unveils-missile-other-weapons-073822388.html
 $738,461 per job: http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/20/lahood-im-very-proud-of-dot-stimulus-spending-at-738000-per-job-video/
 new wildfire: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/n-calif-fire-burns-7-homes-threatens-thousands
 happy as a clam: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/20/voter-id-challenger-happy-as-a-clam-to-get-free-id-in-pennsylvania/
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