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Medicaid: No Longer an Affordable Health Insurance Option

Jul 30th, 2014

In this week’s news, more Medicaid cuts have surfaced. It has come to a point that even hospital stays are being limited to as few as 10 days per year. States are even becoming more creative in curbing Medicaid costs. The federal law allows states to make cuts on some health care services that are deemed optional such as limiting the adult diapers they cover, limiting the number of checkups covered, and eliminating eye coverage check-ups and eyeglasses, and dental exams.

Limiting services is another strategy that will drive more people to turn to private health insurance plans to get the adequate care they need in exchange for a high premium.

The federal government through the health care reform is planning to add 16 million more people to the program by 2014. As early as now, various cuts have already been made to keep the program alive. These cuts are expected in vision care services, dental care, doctor visits, and even hospital stays. With healthcare costs on the rise due to the number of people added to the program, how can we expect Medicaid to provide adequate coverage?

As states scramble to find ways to cut medical and insurance costs, quality of care is at risk. Medicaid director Cindy Mann said that while they are “working with states to provide them with the flexibility to run their Medicaid programs and reduce their costs, they must also ensure the  program continues to meet the health care needs of the children, people with disabilities and the elderly whom it serves.”

What might happen soon is that most Americans will have affordable health insurance coverage but benefits will be very limited. Options in terms of healthcare providers might also be reduced. Reducing reimbursement rates will push physicians and hospitals to close their doors to new Medicaid patients. Part of the budget for the new health law will go towards the establishment of more healthcare facilities. But who will be left to treat Medicaid patients? Instead of being treated by physicians, people will only see nurses and doctor’s assistants.  What’s the point of having coverage when you can barely access healthcare? Having affordable health insurance coverage does not equate to healthier Americans.

Ultimately, Medicaid cuts may lead to limited benefits and reduced access to care. Ensuring affordable health insurance is important, but it must also provide access to quality healthcare services to benefit Americans truly.


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