The deep Medicaid cuts put forth by George Bush are equal to the cost of providing health coverage of 1.8 million children, or 345,000 senior citizens.
The following facts are to help you understand the Medicaid debate.
How important is Medicaid to US citizens? Medicaid is the only health insurance held by 50 million low-income Americans
Medicaid pays for more than one-third of all births in the US
1 in 4 US children have their only health insurance through Medicaid
7 million disabled and blind persons have health coverage only via Medicaid
Medicaid is the largest payer of HIV/AIDS care in the US
70% of Medicaid recipients older than 15 are women
Medicaid accounts for 50% of all long-term care dollars spent in the US
Medicaid pays for the care of 70% of all people in US nursing homes
Who is eligible for Medicaid? Persons and families with poverty-level incomes
Children under 6 whose family income is 133% of the poverty-level
Pregnant woman whose family income is 133% of the poverty-level
Blind, disabled, ill & elderly persons whose income may be above poverty-level
Infants under 1 and pregnant women under certain other income tests
Medically needy persons
What is covered by Medicaid? Vaccines for children
Rural health clinic services
Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services
Inpatient hospital services
Outpatient hospital services
Periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment services for children under 21
Laboratory and x-ray services
Prescribed drugs and prosthetic devices
Nursing facility services for children under 21
Rehabilitation and physical therapy services
Home health care for persons eligible for skilled-nursing services
Nursing facility services for persons 21 or older
Home and community-based care for persons with certain chronic ills
How do President Bush and House Republicans propose to cut Medicaid services? The Bush Administration has offered few specifics ideas as to how to cut Medicaid services. Here are a few that have been publicly aired .
Raise income eligibility for Medicaid, thereby cutting millions off from health care service.
Require co-payments of all Medicaid recipients. Since Medicaid users have low and poverty-level incomes, millions would be unable to access health services for lack of money.
Put caps on Medicaid medical services. That means that a person has a limit in Medicaid services they can receive.
For instance, it has been suggested that patients judged to be in a vegetative state may be denied services (life-support systems, feeding tubes) once that spending cap has been reached. The Terri Schiavo case is an excellent example of such a situation. This is already being done in Texas, based on a law signed by the Governor Bush in 1999.
Quotes about Medicaid
Physician Mark Johnson in the Seattle Inquirer, Medicaid is one of the most cost-effective sources of health coverage among both private and public plans.
Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a Republican, to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You dont pull feeding tubes from people. You dont pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), I am greatly concerned that the President and some Republican members of Congress have put the Medicaid program on the budget chopping block, putting the heath of seniors, women, children and people with disabilities at risk.
Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity and there is an obligation for society to ensure that every person be able to realize this right.
Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) says that Medicaid cant be cut because it serves the lame, the poor, the blind, the needy, those who have no resources if we pull away this central stand in the safety net.
Alan Sager & Deborah Socolar, both of Boston University School of Public Health, many employers, state Medicaid programs and the Bush administration want to force patients to pay more. Thats a cost-control strategy that cannot work, and it is adding to the tens of millions of underinsured Americans going without needed care. Patients should not have to forgo necessary care.