Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baucus Bill Will Expand America's Worst Health Care Program: Medicaid

America's worst government run health care system is medicaid. The Baucus bill will shove up to a total of 25% of the population into the Medicaid program within 10 years.
The more we inspect Max Baucus’s health-care bill, the worse it looks. Today’s howler: One reason it allegedly “pays for itself” over 10 years is because it would break all 50 state budgets by permanently expanding Medicaid, the joint state-federal program for the poor. The reason this saves money is Medicaid's price controls are even tighter than Medicare's. Forty percent of U.S. physicians won't accept Medicaid.

Governors are angry at Senator Baucus for the method he uses to make his version of health care reform pay for itself over 10 years. Some of the cost is shifted to state budgets.
About 59 million people are on Medicaid today—which means that a decade from now about a quarter of the total population would be on a program originally sold as help for low-income women, children and the disabled. State budgets would explode—by $37 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office—because they would no longer be allowed to set eligibility in line with their own decisions about taxes and spending. This is the mother—and father and crazy uncle—of unfunded mandates.

Why is Medicaid America's worst government run health program? The reimbursement rates are even lower than Medicare. Forty percent of U.S. doctors won't take Medicaid and drugs are usually not covered.
As for the poor uninsured, they'll be shunted off into what Democratic backbencher Ron Wyden calls a "caste system." While some people will be eligible for subsidized private health insurance, everyone in the lowest income bracket will be forced into Medicaid, the country's worst insurance program by a long shot. States try to control spending by restricting access to prescription drugs and specialists. About 40% of U.S. physicians won't accept Medicaid at all.

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