Saturday, May 4, 2024

ICYMI: Study: Proposed Changes to Medicare, Medicaid Could Cost Thousands of Lives; Greg Abbott Issues Dire Warning Over Medicaid Changes

Illustration by Michael S. Helfenbein
Study: Proposed changes to Medicare, Medicaid could cost thousands of lives:
Proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid, including raising the age of Medicare eligibility, could lead to thousands of additional deaths, a Yale study shows.
Proposed changes to the United States’ Medicare and Medicaid programs could lead to thousands of additional deaths each year, a new Yale study reveals.
Recent proposals to reduce program costs include a recommendation to raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67 — put forward by a 2022 report from the House of Representatives’ Republican Study Committee — and a proposed work requirement for Medicaid coverage — a recurring Congressional consideration during federal budget negotiations.
While neither of those have yet been adopted, one major change to Medicaid is already underway: A provision authorized at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that required states to keep existing Medicaid recipients enrolled in the program expired last year. Since then, states have begun disenrolling Medicaid recipients who no longer qualify or are unable to complete the renewal process.
Such changes will drive up the number of uninsured people in the U.S., said Alison Galvani, the Burnett and Stender Families Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) at Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) and senior author of the study.
That, she said, will have significant ramifications on individual and public health.
“Without insurance people might forgo health care when they need it or ration prescription medications,” said Galvani, who is also director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at YSPH. “That can cause a condition to become both more serious and ultimately more costly. In the case of infectious diseases, forgoing health care can lead to transmission to other people that may have been prevented.” --->READ MORE HERE
Greg Abbott Issues Dire Warning Over Medicaid Changes:
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued a sharp warning about proposed changes to Medicaid, claiming they could "strip millions of Americans" from access to healthcare.
In February 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new proposed rule that would change long-standing practices for how states fund the non-federal share of Medicaid payments. In particular, the CMS is pushing for greater oversight of how states use of healthcare provider taxes to help fund their programs.
The Medicaid program, which provides healthcare to nearly 100 million lower-income Americans, is financed by both the state and federal government. The federal government contributes an average 60 percent of reported Medicaid costs.
Most states currently impose taxes on many healthcare services, including hospitals, nursing homes and intermediate care facilities, to help fund their portion of Medicaid costs.
However, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has said that states often use provider taxes to inflate the amount of federal government contributions they receive by simultaneously taxing providers and boosting payments to them. In doing so, states can report higher costs without having to boost net spending.
The CMS is thus proposing a number of changes to the funding model to clamp down on this, including requiring provider payment levels to not exceed average commercial rates.
The proposed changes also stipulate that states will have to report to the CMS the total dollars expended for each state-directed payment (SDP), and that states will have to comply with all federal laws concerning funding sources of the non-federal share as a condition of SDP approval.
In response to the proposals, Abbott urged President Joe Biden to "abandon his new Medicaid policies" and warned they could "devastate the... safety net for elderly and disabled adults, pregnant women and millions of children." --->READ MORE HERE
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