HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

More on Medicaid

The New York Times has an article today discussing the debate occurring over whether to raise Medicaid co-pays.  It states,

The Bush administration clashed with doctors on Wednesday over the merits of a proposal to charge higher co-payments to Medicaid recipients, with doctors warning that the fees could deter some poor people from seeking necessary medical care.

   

The debate came at a meeting of a federal advisory panel appointed by the administration to help rein in the growth of Medicaid, which provides health insurance to more than 50 million low-income people.

Congress may use the panel's advice as a basis for legislation this fall.

Under the current Medicaid law and rules, co-payments for most adults cannot exceed $3 for goods and services like prescription drugs, visits to doctors and outpatient hospital visits. For children younger than 18, co-payments are not allowed.

The panel, known as the Medicaid Commission, is considering an option that would allow states to charge higher co-payments, $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Michael J. O'Grady, a member of the panel who is also an assistant secretary of health and human services, said the higher co-payments would make beneficiaries more "price-sensitive" and would not impose an undue burden.

"We are talking about the price of a pack of cigarettes," Mr. O'Grady said. He noted that the maximum co-payments had not been changed since the early 1980's.

This doesn't look good for the future of Medicaid . . . . [bm]


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