HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Creighton University School of Law

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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