Thursday, August 18, 2005
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]