Medicaid Continues to Expand: Good or Bad?
Re-posting an article summary…Medicaid spending is something we should be thinking about!
Millions of men, women, and children across the country rely on Medicaid for their healthcare. While the program was initially designed to support the elderly, it expanded through the years, like so many federal programs do. It then began to offer coverage to expectant mothers, then their children, then poor, regardless of age.
Today, Medicaid has become an integral part of healthcare for people of all ages, and even those who earn three times more than the official poverty line for income are receiving support through the Medicaid system.
Some believe the system is broken and is overburdening the federal government while others believe it’s only the start to national healthcare coverage. For those who don’t have the financial means to pay for in home care support, Medicaid often steps in to provide at least some relief and funding for short-term care.
As the GOP continues to push to replace The Affordable Care Act, some of the efforts that have failed thus far highlight just how intertwined and ingrained the Medicaid system is, and how many people rely on it. Many states have become dependent on the federal funding to help fill their state budget coffers. While the poorest states, such as Mississippi, get a higher percentage of federal Medicaid dollars, that still often isn’t enough to keep up with rising health care costs.
However, there is no stopgap in place. In other words, there’s no limit to just how much a state can provide through Medicaid, and the more some states spend, the more they receive from the federal government. This means it could become more lucrative for poorer states to offer a wider range of support services through Medicaid than other funding sources.
Medicaid currently provides support for 40 percent of all children in the U.S., covers half of all births, 60 percent of nursing home services and other long-term care expenses, and over one-fourth of all mental health services and one-fifth of substance abuse programs.
The federal government spent $575 billion on Medicaid last year alone. The concern for some is what happens when the money is no longer available. If Medicaid continues to grow, and if tax revenue thins out, in a nation that carries $20 trillion in debt already, there will come a time when borrowing is no longer an option and services to those who depend on Medicaid could become more difficult to obtain.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164