Saturday, June 25, 2011
In February 2009, Congress approved extra federal financing for Medicaid as part of an economic recovery package. The number of Meicaid beneficiaries has increased since 2009, and the financing runs out at the end of this month. As a result, millions of people will be cut from their benefits.
Many states, in an attempt to reduce costs, are limiting Medicaid recipients’ benefits, increasing beneficiaries’ co-pays, reducing Medicaid payments to hospitals and physicians, and reducing the number of services covered. A recent survey found that twenty-four states reduced or were reducing Medicaid payments to providers, and twenty states limited or were limiting recipients’ benefits in some other way.
Medicaid is more vulnerable to cuts than Social Security and Medicare because its political support is not as broad. According to Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, the majority of Medicaid’s population simply do not have the finances needed for lobbying.
Medicaid is very much on the chopping block. Seniors vote. But if you are poor and disabled, you might not vote, and if you are a child, you do not vote — that’s a lot of Medicaid’s population. They don’t have money to do lobbying.
Robert Pear, As Number of Medicaid Patients Goes Up, Their Benefits Are About to Drop, The New York Times, Jun 16, 2011.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this article to my attention.