New Medicaid Rule Takes Us in the Wrong Direction

Last week President Bush’s administration published a new federal rule giving states the sweeping authority to charge Medicaid recipients premiums and higher co-payments for doctors’ services, hospital care and prescription drugs. If they can’t afford the payments, providers would then have the authority to turn them away (except for life-threatening circumstances).

This new policy was designed to save money, but many experts claim the bulk of the savings will be the result of low-income individuals not getting needed care. While this may be a short term advantage for the government in curbing cost, delaying medical care could lead to more serious health problems, which ultimately is more expensive. Rather than trying to find a way to provide quality health care for all, the government has found a way they believe will force poor people to pay more.

State lawmakers now have a decision as to whether to incorporate these premiums and co-payments into their state system. For most states facing budget shortfalls, this will be tempting. But this new rule does not get us closer to providing quality health and health care for all – it takes us in the wrong direction. Let’s hope Governor-Elect Nixon and Governor Sebelius will not choose to take this route.


Thanks for the information. I hadn't been aware of this new "cost-savings" measure by the Bush administration. (Aren't they gone yet?!) It's interesting that we can afford $700B for who knows what, but health care for the poor? No, no, no, that's just too darn expensive. Guess that shows us where our national priorities are.In a related note, I recently looked at the top ten states with the largest percentage budget deficits (ranging from about 10-20%). Nearly every state had cuts to K-12 education, higher education, medicaid and medicare, but not a single one was proposing cuts to corrections. I have heard before that you can build 3 schools for every prison and educate 10 kids for every prisoner. Again, I guess that shows where our priorities are.Again and again we see that low-income families are hardest hit by cuts to health care and education, and the corrections system is generally filled by those in the same category. To me this is a no-brainer, but lawmakers just don't seem to get it yet. You can't build a society by refusing to educate and then imprisoning those less well-off. When will we look at putting money in health care and education as an investment (which it is) just like we look at putting money into financial markets as an investment? Perhaps I'm just a naive idealist, but I just don't get it.But, I digress because now I'm all fired up.Again, thanks for the information. I really look forward to reading your insights.All the best,JL

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Steve. I agree with you! Why are the poor less deserving to basic health care needs than the wealthy or middle class? This new system is CRAZY and will not be cost effective for our country. I am very disappointed in our government and hope that the new Obama administration can assist in equality healthcare for all Americans.

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About Me

Steve Roling

Steve Roling

Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.