Thursday, April 07, 2011

If you thought MEDICAID would be spared by the GOP, you were DELUSIONAL. Their plans to destroy it

I already posted about the GOP Scam to DESTROY MEDICARE...

you didn't think Medicaid would be left untouched, did you?

Silly people.

Medicaid gets a bad rap, gutless politicians have let the right wing tar it as a program that only helps the undeserving poor Black and Brown children, and you know the Brown children are illegal...and cause they're poor, they're leeches, who shouldn't get any medical care, because after all, that's what emergency rooms are for.

Here's a graph of the actual breakdown in Medicaid Recipients and Medicaid funding:

Look....while the children are the highest % of enrollees, look at the % of DOLLARS that they take get from Medicaid. Children are behind the Disabled AND Elderly in how many dollars they get.

I've been talking about the little acknowledged secret about Medicaid for awhile now..



The elderly get 2 and a half TIMES the money compared to their percentage of enrollees.

I can’t wait for all those Middle-Class White folks, especially those that voted GOP - from around the country to realize that the GOP is cutting off the money for Mom and Dad’s Nursing Home.

I say Middle-Class White folks, not to say that Middle-Class folks who aren’t White don’t use Medicaid for Mom and Dad’s Nursing Home, it’s just that the likelihood of them having the schizophrenia of voting for the people who would throw Mom and Dad out onto the street is just smaller….because they don’t live in the land of delusion where they believe that the GOP is NOT talking about them when they discuss ’ cuts’......and a whole lot of White Middle-Class and Working Class do.

Here's how the scam is going to go down:

Medicaid in the Crosshairs


In the meantime, though, I hope that anybody writing on these proposals mentions, prominently, that rolling back the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion would entail taking health insurance away from about 15 million people. That's the official, Congressional Budget Office projection of how many people will get coverage under Medicaid once the Act is fully in place.

As for turning Medicaid into a block grant, here's a quick refresher on what that involves. Right now, Medicaid is an entitlement program. That means the federal government, in partnership with the states, must enroll everybody who meets the program's guidelines. In other words, if millions of additional people become eligible because, say, they lost their job-based insurance in the recession, than the feds and the states have to provide them with coverage and find some way to pay for it. And it can't be spotty coverage, either. By law, Medicaid coverage must be comprehensive.

At least, that's the way it works now. If the law changes and Medicaid becomes a block grant, then every year the federal government would simply give the states a lump sum, set by a fixed formula, and let the states make the most of it. Conservatives claim block grants would give states the flexibility they need to make their programs more efficient. But, as Harold Pollack has noted in these pages, states already have some flexibility. And because demand for Medicaid tends to peak during economic downturns, when state tax revenues fall, the likely impact of a block grant scheme would be to make Medicaid even less affordable at the time it is most necessary.

That's not to say plenty of governors wouldn't take advantage of block grant status to change their Medicaid programs in ways they cannot now. They surely would--by capping enrollment, thinning benefits, increasing co-payments, and so on.

In the past, states have cut Medicaid (or stretched it, depending on your perspective) by reducing what it pays doctors, hospitals, and other providers. But the payments are so ridiculously low now that many providers have simply stopped seeing Medicaid patients. It's hard to imagine states could find more savings by reducing payments even further, although I'm sure a few would try, making it even more difficult for beneficiaries to get timely care.

Do you really want these folks to be at the mercy of a Governor like Jan Brewer in Arizona, who gave tax breaks to corporations, all the while creating her own death panel on transplant candidates.

From Ezra Klein:

In Medicaid’s case, the reform is block-granting. Right now, the federal government shares Medicaid costs with the states. That means their payments increase or decrease with Medicaid’s actual rate of spending. Under a block grant system, that’d stop. They’d simply give states a lump sum at the beginning of the year and that’d have to suffice. And if a recession hits and more people need Medicaid or a nasty flu descends and lots of disabled beneficiaries end up in the hospital with pneumonia? Too bad.

That's right...too fucking bad, because it's Darwin-Lord-of-the-Flies mentality for these people.

And, there might be Medicaid fraud, but nobody will convince me it's a large portion of what's spent on Medicaid. The problems with Medicaid are laid out by Ezra Klein:

But the part that worries me the most is his effort to slash Medicaid, with no real theory as to how to make up the cuts.

A full two-thirds of Medicaid’s spending goes to seniors and people with disabilities — even though seniors and the disabled are only a quarter of Medicaid’s members. Sharply cutting Medicaid means sharply cutting their benefits, as that’s where the bulk of Medicaid’s money goes. This is not just about the free health care given to some hypothetical class of undeserving and unemployed Medicaid queens.

Let's repeat this, shall we?

A full two-thirds of Medicaid’s spending goes to seniors and people with disabilities — even though seniors and the disabled are only a quarter of Medicaid’s members. Sharply cutting Medicaid means sharply cutting their benefits, as that’s where the bulk of Medicaid’s money goes. This is not just about the free health care given to some hypothetical class of undeserving and unemployed Medicaid queens.

So, if you know a Senior, or a family with a member that's disabled, more than likely, you know someone who uses Medicaid. It's NOT Rosa with her 3 'Anchor Babies', or Lashawnda with 5 kids, who is eating up that Medicaid money. It's Grandma or Grandpa in the nursing home, or that family in church who has the disabled family member. My aunt's best friend that she met 55 years on the train to Tuskegee took care of her older disabled sister from the time her mother died in 1970 until last year. Her sister had the mental capacity of a child, but never had to go into a home. She was able to stay, first with her parents, then with her sister, until she died last year at the age of 88. Medicaid helped them with all the services her sister received.

How The GOP Plan To Kill Medicare And Medicaid Would Work:
Eliminating Medicaid

The reviews are even worse for Ryan's plan to turn Medicaid into a block grant program. Ryan would eliminate the federal parameters governing the program and instead have Washington send states lump sums of money to put towards health care for the poor. In some states, that will mean patients -- the poor, disabled and elderly -- will suffer dramatic benefit cuts, particularly during tough economic times.

Seventeen Democratic governors have signed a letter to congressional leaders strongly opposing the block grant idea. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wrote a separate letter attacking the plan as well.

"It's a hidden way to cut Medicaid," Gruber said. "I don't see the argument for it at all."

AARP seems if anything more concerned about the Medicaid proposal than the Medicare plan.

"A wholesale overhaul of Medicaid to block grants would likely lead to reduced benefits and eligibility, resulting in powerful negative repercussions for the millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid for their health and long term care," Nora Super, AARP's director of federal government relations for health, tells TPM.

Medicaid is often conceived of as a less luxurious version of Medicare for the poor, but many elderly Americans benefit from both. The GOP has been at war with AARP over its support of the health care law.


Klein continues:

But perhaps cutting it wouldn’t be so bad if there were a lot of waste in Medicaid. But there isn’t. Medicaid is cheap. Arguably too cheap. Its reimbursements are so low many doctors won’t accept Medicaid patients. Its costs grew less quickly than those of private insurance over the past decade, and at this point, a Medicaid plan is about 20 percent cheaper than an equivalent private-insurance plan. As it happens, I don’t think Medicaid is a great program, and I’d be perfectly happy to see it moved onto the exchanges once health-care reform is up and running. But the reason that’s unlikely to happen isn’t ideology. It’s money. Giving Medicaid members private insurance would cost many billions of dollars.

That’s why it’s well understood that converting Medicaid into block grants means cutting people off from using it, or limiting what they can use it for

So, Medicaid is CHEAP. There's not much, if ANYTHING to CUT. The block grant thing is nothing but a SHAM.

So, here's the thing. Talk to everyone you know. Someone has someone elderly or disabled, or gasp, a low-income child that they know. Fighting this, and informing folks of the scam they want to do is an act of civic responsibility.

1 comment:

Prosey said...

Thank you for posting this and breaking it down so neatly! I've been pissed off about this for a long while, because there is a *very common* misconception about how the monies are spent ~ and I have worked (one-on-one, mind) to try to correct the misguided notions. *sigh* Your approach is better. *sharing*