Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thinking seriously about Medicaid withdrawal-Az Rep

The reason to consider Medicaid withdrawal is that Obamacare did not address costs and in fact exploded them.

The proposal by state Sen. Andy Biggs for Arizona to withdraw from Medicaid should be getting more serious attention than it is receiving. Right now, Republicans are voting for it reflexively in committee, as part of the session’s theme of thumbing the nose at the federal government. Democrats and the health care lobby are howling about it, not because they take it seriously, but because, in their minds, it illustrates how wacky Republican lawmakers have become.  Someone, however, needs to start doing some serious thinking about what a state health care program for the poor might look like without Medicaid.

The feds apparently will allow the state to temporarily reduce the Medicaid population as Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed. Whether the reduction will survive a legal challenge remains to be seen.
Regardless, the state faces a Medicaid crunch come 2014. The temporary sales tax will expire in 2013, depriving the state of around $1 billion in revenue. And by 2014, Obamacare requires all states to provide Medicaid coverage to those earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level.  (Can you say Government run health care-Socialism)  Arizona currently covers up to 100 percent of the poverty level, one of only seven states to do so. Under Brewer’s proposal that would be reduced to closer to the 34 percent the state covered prior to passage of a ballot proposition in 2000 expanding coverage.
The feds are supposed to pick up most, although not all, of the cost for the expanded population. Nevertheless, Medicaid will continue to be a rapidly increasing expense for the state. Exploring alternatives is prudent. (how about patient involvement in the financial aspects of their care?)


Jim G. said...

It turns out AZ is not alone.

Lawmaker Says Florida Might Withdraw From Medicaid If Federal Government Rejects Overhaul Proposal.
The Florida Times-Union (2/16) reports, "The lead author of a proposal to overhaul the state Medicaid program said Tuesday that if the federal government rejects the plan, Florida might become the first state to withdraw from the program and instead craft its own, pared-down alternative." This "statement by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, underscored how serious members of the Senate say they are about reining in costs of the program." Although "Negron shied away from the phrase 'opt out,' he was apparently referring to a provision of the federal law that allows states to leave the program altogether."

Baxter said...

There are many ways to skin a cat. If a state has a proposal that will provide the same level of coverage and care under a different system, I say give them block grants on one condition - they include Medicare as well.