Thursday, November 5, 2015
Time to find out how we can do better with Medicaid
MIKE STEFFEN had this letter published in the October 28 Dispatch/Argus. "Medicaid, pensions and education make up 80 percent of Illinois' budget. That does not leave much money for roads and bridges, interest on our debt and maintenance of state-owned facilities. ..... What can we do better? ..... The Affordable Care Act encouraged the states to expand their Medicaid programs in order to serve people up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). In return, expansion states would receive federal dollar support for X number of years. Instead of expanding under this program, Wisconsin took a different approach. ..... Wisconsin decided to make Medicaid available to all residents earning 100 percent of the FPL. All others would be transitioned into the health exchanges where they could buy private, subsidized coverage. ..... Why should Illinois consider a plan like Wisconsin? It moves more people into private coverage. This is important because Medicaid enrollees have trouble accessing doctors. One-third of physicians do not accept new Medicaid patients. ...... Medicaid pays doctors very low reimbursement rates, which is part of the reason they are often unwilling to treat Medicaid patients. And crowd-out -- dropping private insurance for a public option -- occurs when the privately insured have the option to access pubic insurance, and states that expand Medicaid are likely to experience crowd-out. ..... Please contact your state senator and representative to share your views about the way Medicaid is administered in Illinois"