Medicaid Cuts Are the Latest Evidence of the Dems’ Healthcare Failure

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A new report out this week shows that states are having to impose new limits on Medicaid benefits to address the program’s rising costs, just as the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare prepares to dump millions more Americans into Medicaid:

STATES “SHARPLY LIMITING HOSPITAL STAYS” TO “CONTROL RISING COSTS”: “A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.” (Phil Galewitz, “More States Limiting Medicaid Hospital Stays,” USA Today, 10/24/2011)

MOVES COULD “RESTRICT ACCESS TO CARE” AND “LEAD TO HIGHER CHARGES FOR PRIVATELY INSURED PATIENTS”: “Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients.” (Phil Galewitz, “More States Limiting Medicaid Hospital Stays,” USA Today, 10/24/2011)

Democrats seem content to let Medicaid’s costs spiral out of control, which forces cuts that threaten patients’ access to quality care:

“SEVERAL MILLION MIDDLE-CLASS PEOPLE GET NEARLY FREE INSURANCE MEANT FOR THE POOR” UNDER DEMS’ HEALTHCARE TAKEOVER: “President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

“The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

“Up to 3 million people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly.” (“A Glitch in ObamaCare Could Give Middle Class Insurance Intended for the Poor,” Associated Press, 6/21/2011)

“AS NUMBER OF MEDICAID PATIENTS GOES UP, THEIR BENEFITS ARE ABOUT TO DROP”: “The Obama administration injected billions of dollars into Medicaid, the nation’s low-income health program, as the recession deepened two years ago. The money runs out at the end of this month, and benefits are being cut for millions of people, even though unemployment has increased.” (Robert Pear, “As Number of Medicaid Patients Goes Up, Their Benefits Are About to Drop,” The New York Times, 6/15/2011)

COST-SHIFTING FROM MEDICAID OVER-ENROLLMENT HAS LONG BEEN PREDICTED, AS LESS ACCESS TO DOCTORS FORCES MEDICAID PATIENTS TO HEAD TO EMERGENCY ROOMS: “As a result, costs can be expected to rise in other parts of the health care system. Cuts in Medicaid payments to doctors, for example, make it less likely that they will accept Medicaid patients and more likely that people will turn to hospital emergency rooms for care. Hospitals and other health care providers often try to make up for the loss of Medicaid revenue by increasing charges to other patients, including those with private insurance, experts say.” (Robert Pear, “As Number of Medicaid Patients Goes Up, Their Benefits Are About to Drop,” The New York Times, 6/15/2011)

“CHILDREN ON MEDICAID SHOWN TO WAIT LONGER FOR CARE,” “FAR MORE LIKELY” TO BE DENIED TREATMENT: “Children with Medicaid are far more likely than those with private insurance to be turned away by medical specialists or be made to wait more than a month for an appointment, even for serious medical problems, a new study finds. …

“The study used a ‘secret shopper’ technique in which researchers posed as the parent of a sick or injured child and called 273 specialty practices in Cook County, Ill., to schedule appointments. The callers, working from January to May 2010, described problems that were urgent but not emergencies, like diabetes, seizures, uncontrolled asthma, a broken bone or severe depression. If they were asked, they said that primary care doctors or emergency departments had referred them.

“Sixty-six percent of those who mentioned Medicaid-CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) were denied appointments, compared with 11 percent who said they had private insurance, according to an article being published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“In 89 clinics that accepted both kinds of patients, the waiting time for callers who said they had Medicaid was an average of 22 days long.” (Denise Grady, “Children on Medicaid Shown to Wait Longer for Care,” The New York Times, 6/15/2011)

It’s worth remembering that Democrats repeatedly promised that their government healthcare takeover would reduce the rising cost of healthcare, improve medical quality and increase access to care. However, evidence of the Democrats’ failure to keep those promises continues to mount:

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: HEALTHCARE BILL ABOUT “BENDING THE COST CURVE” DOWN: “[Vice President Joe Biden]: But, look, I think, if I can lay out, Mr. President, what I think we all agree on, and then figure out whether as a way to deal with the deficit end of this -- bending the cost curve, to use a phrase you and many others have used, Mr. President.” (“Remarks by The President In Discussion of the Deficit at Bipartisan Meeting on Health Care Reform,” The White House, 2/25/2010)

PELOSI THIS YEAR: HEALTHCARE BILL “ESSENTIAL TO REDUCING COSTS, IMPROVING QUALITY, AND EXPANDING ACCESS”: “So personally, economically, fiscally in terms of our budget, we could not sustain the course that we were on. Every piece of this comprehensive bill is essential to reducing costs, improving quality, and expanding access.” (“Transcript of Press Conference on Patients’ Rights Ahead of Affordable Care Act Anniversary,” Office of the Democratic Leader, 3/10/2011)


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