Debate Club

Medicaid Patients Deserve the Dignity of Private Insurance

By SHARE

Studies have shown that Medicaid patients fare worse in many cases than the uninsured. In many states, Medicaid pays doctors so little, recipients can't find a private physician to see them so they must wait, sometimes for hours, in hospital emergency rooms to get care. They deserve the dignity of private insurance, which states could provide if they were freed from Medicaid's mountains of red tape.

Further, the Medicaid expansion will harm the poorest and most vulnerable patients already on the program as they are forced to compete with millions of new patients seeking care from this limited pool of providers.

Many governors are rightly resisting adding another 16 million more people to Medicaid and are demanding that Washington give them more flexibility to improve the program.

[See a collection of political cartoons on healthcare.]

They are reaching the breaking point with their state budgets as they try to meet competing demands for spending on education, transportation, and public safety with Medicaid entitlement costs that consume the biggest share of revenues in many states.

Even with the generous match rates the health overhaul law offers, the Medicaid expansion would cost them at least $118 billion through 2023, according to a 2011 congressional report by Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Michigan Repubican Rep. Fred Upton.

And if states were to expand coverage with the promise of an initial 100 percent federal match for the expansion, there are no assurances that Washington would be able to keep its promise to continue the generous funding. They are rightly concerned that the health law's initial offer could be a bait-and-switch.

[See a slide show of 10 things that are (and aren't) in the healthcare bill.]

There already is evidence that could be the administration's plan. President Barack Obama proposed reducing federal Medicaid spending by $100 billion over 10 years during last year's "supercommittee" budget negotiations. He proposed changing the traditional federal Medicaid matching rate in a way that would lead to a smaller overall federal contribution to the program—and a larger state-based one.

States are right to worry about whether Washington would keep its promise to fund the expansion, and they are also right to use the leverage the Supreme Court has given them to demand much-needed reform of the program. States, taxpayers, and especially vulnerable Medicaid recipients deserve better.

Grace-Marie Turner

About Grace-Marie Turner President of the Galen Institute

Tags
Medicaid
government
health care
Hatch, Orrin
Obama, Barack
Upton, Fred

Other Arguments

#1
126 Pts
Rick Scott: Medicaid Expansion Would Strain State Budgets
#2
5 Pts
Medicaid Expansion Will Create Jobs While Extending Care

Yes – Medicaid Expansion Will Create Jobs While Extending Care

Maggie Mahar Author of 'Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much'

#3
1 Pts
Medicaid Expansion Would Lead to Unsustainable Growth

No – Medicaid Expansion Would Lead to Unsustainable Growth

Michael D. Tanner Author of 'Bad Medicine: A Guide to the Real Costs and Consequences of the New Health Care Law'

#5
-26 Pts
Giving Healthcare to the Poor Lowers Health Costs for Everyone

Yes – Giving Healthcare to the Poor Lowers Health Costs for Everyone

Scott Randolph Democratic Florida State Representative

#6
-38 Pts
Expanding Medicaid Is a Moral and Fiscal Imperative

Yes – Expanding Medicaid Is a Moral and Fiscal Imperative

Ethan Rome Executive Director of Health Care for America Now

#7
-110 Pts
Expanding Medicaid Improves Physical, Psychological, and Financial Health

Yes – Expanding Medicaid Improves Physical, Psychological, and Financial Health

Rick Mayes Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Richmond

You Might Also Like


See More