As a state-run program with broad federal guidelines, Medicaid covers health and long-term care services for scores of millions of low-income Americans. Conversations are well underway about the role of Medicaid as a vehicle for economic stimulus, and about its role in health coverage expansion proposals. In that context, a grounding in current Medicaid basics will be essential to congressional health staff, reporters covering health issues and others concerned about health coverage.
Who is eligible for Medicaid? How is it administered? What benefits are covered? What is its role in long-term care? What role does the program play for Medicare beneficiaries? How is Medicaid financed? How much of the funding for the program comes from the federal government? How much do states pay for Medicaid and how much discretion do they have in determining who is covered, and for what services?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored a February 13 luncheon briefing. Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Commission provided a basic overview of who Medicaid covers. Barbara Edwards, former Ohio Medicaid director now at Health Management Associates, discussed Medicaid financing and state administrative responsibilities. Andrew Bindman of the University of California, San Francisco, addressed the program’s impact on access, as well as service delivery and provider payment and participation issues. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland moderated the discussion.
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