Medicaid currently provides health and long-term care to 68 million Americans, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would significantly expand Medicaid beginning in 2014. As a countercyclical program, Medicaid typically faces increased enrollment at the same time that states are looking to cut their budgets. Although the Budget Control Act of 2011 exempts safety-net programs like Medicaid from across-the-board cuts, Medicaid has remained a keenly debated topic in discussions of how to reduce the deficit.
Which proposals affecting Medicaid might receive serious consideration by the “super committee” in its quest to find $1.2 trillion or more in savings by its November 23 deadline? What impact would these changes have on the populations served by this program, providers, and states? Will suggested reforms “bend the cost curve” or simply shift costs among states, the federal government, and beneficiaries? How do states’ current efforts to reduce their Medicaid budgets fit in? When major changes have been made to Medicaid in the past, how have beneficiaries and stakeholders been affected?
To address these questions and more, the Alliance for Health Reform and four cosponsors presented a November 10 briefing. Panelists were: Tim Westmoreland of Georgetown University, former director of the Medicaid program at HCFA (now CMS); Tony McCann of Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, formerly of HRSA; Andrew Allison, executive director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority and founding president of the National Association of Medicaid Directors; and DeAnn Friedholm, director of the health care reform team at Consumer’s Union. Ed Howard of the Alliance, Diane Rowland of Kaiser and Bruce Chernof of The SCAN Foundation co-moderated. Along with the Alliance, cosponsoring the event were The Commonwealth Fund, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundationand The SCAN Foundation. This briefing was the third in a four-briefing series on the mechanics, dynamics and politics of deficit reduction. The last briefing in the series will take place in December.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)