• Some odd Medicaid news

    If the quotes in this NYT piece are accurate, the administration is doing itself no favors in trying to make Medicaid more popular:

    The Obama administration said Monday that states could cut Medicaid payments to many doctors and other health care providers to hold down costs in the program, which insures 60 million low-income people and will soon cover many more under the new health care law.

    State governments want to save money. One of the ways that they can do so is to decrease Medicaid spending. But Medicaid is already pretty lean, and it’s hard to spend less. One way they could do so is to decrease reimbursement to physicians and hospitals.

    This is, of course, unpopular with those groups, and for good reason. Medicaid already arguably under-reimburses many providers. It’s one of the things that the ACA is fixing this year.

    Here’s the administration’s reply:

    “There is no general mandate under Medicaid to reimburse providers for all or substantially all of their costs,” the administration said.

    That isn’t going to please anyone.


    • It is a sad thing that voters support the program that from a charitable perspective makes no sense (Medicare) but do not support the program that does (Medicaid). Medicare provides care for the age group that gets the lowest health years for the dollar spent and most of recipients are well off enough to pay for the care themselves. Medicaid pays of care for the need who are often young and so can yield high health years for the dollar spent.

      • That is a good reason to do away with the payroll tax and raise the other taxes to replace it.

      • You’re obviously not a 60-something with mildly high blood pressure and cholesterol. Insurance is very expensive and having a heart attack/bypass surgery without it can bankrupt people who seemed otherwise well off.

        And why is Medicare charity? It’s the government stepping in and providing insurance when the market refused to do it.

    • The game of cost whack-a-mole continues.