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Monday Morning Medicaid Must Reads: July 1st, 2019

Helping you consider differing viewpoints. Before it’s illegal.
other MMRS – http://bit.ly/2T7CP7K

In this issue…

Article 1:       Trump’s Medicare chief, in Chicago, slams ‘Medicare for All’ plan: ‘We’re not going to see savings. It’s actually going to cost more. Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2019. Lisa Schencker

Clay’s summary:     Bbbbbut- Bernie! He promised me it’ll work.
Key Excerpts from the Article:
Q: The doctors who support Medicare for All say it would allow doctors and hospitals to spend less money on administration because they wouldn’t be dealing with multiple insurance companies. What are your thoughts on that argument?
A: One of the things I hear a lot is we should go to Medicare for All because of the lower administrative costs. The reality is we’re not spending enough on administration within Medicare. There’s a lot of bureaucracy that goes on with the Medicare program in terms of access to technology, protecting taxpayers against fraud and abuse and it’s because we haven’t made those investments in administering the program like you would see in the private sector.
The main issue with Medicare for All and having the government take over the entire program, is that we’re not going to see savings. It’s actually going to cost more, which means taxpayers are going to pay more, and when they’re paying more, that’s going to lead to rationing of care and problems with access to care.
Read full article in packet or at links provided

Article 2:

Puerto Rico has a post-Maria Medicaid crisis — and Congress and the White House refuse to do anything about it, RawStory

Clay’s summary:     We now have this in regular rotation in Medicaid news cycles. The key factors all center around statehood status (which ties back to the secondary issue of the federal match). Why does no one point out that the path forward on this either involves another star on the flag or independence?
Key Excerpts from the Article:
Puerto Rico has its own definition of what constitutes poverty level and that, it turns out, is much lower than the federal level.  In order to qualify for Medicaid, a family of four in Puerto Rico must show a yearly income of under the amount set as the poverty level on the island, or $10,200. That’s $850 or less a month on an island where the cost of living is higher than in most of the continental U.S. If Puerto Ricans were to qualify for Medicaid under federal poverty guidelines, they would do so as long as their income (for a family of four) did not exceed $25,750, or a little over $2,000 a month.
This means that a large number of Americans living in Puerto Rico can qualify for Medicaid if they leave the island and move to the 50 states even if their income more than doubles. Puerto Rico government officials are well aware of the problem, but lack resources to address it.
Luz E. Cruz, Medicaid director for the government of Puerto Rico acknowledged that the federal cap on Medicaid funds gives Puerto Rico limited funds and if the poverty level was raised to the level in the 50 states, more people would qualify for the program. “And that would mean that the matching portion from the government of Puerto Rico would be higher and that’s money that we don’t have right now,” she said during a brief telephone interview.
Read full article in packet or at links provided

Article 3:       Requiring People To Work To Get Medicaid Went Really Well In Arkansas Until A Judge Stopped It, The Federalist, June 10th, Victoria Eardley

Clay’s summary:     Not what you wanted to hear, I know.
Key Excerpts from the Article:
 
Since 2000, the number of able-bodied adults using Medicaid quadrupled nationwide. The program is one of the chief costs for state governments, squeezing other priorities.
When last summer Arkansas became the first state to require Medicaid recipients to work in exchange for taxpayer-provided health care, welfare advocates would have had you believing the world was ending: health coverage for the needy was being slashed, the reporting process was too complex, and those who lost coverage didn’t even know about the requirement. On and on the hysteria went.
 
But those apoplectic claims were far from reality. Arkansas’ work requirement was a big step towards restoring the state Medicaid program to its objective. It was saving taxpayers money, freeing up resources for the truly needy, and—notably—changing people’s lives for the better.
 
What critics of the requirement neglected to disclose were the thousands of people who found work as a result of the reform—some for the first time in years. These folks went from a life of government dependency to a life of independence, an undeniably better future for both themselves and their families. These are real people, with real stories, reported by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services in late 2018.
 
Read full article in packet or at links provided