Monday, October 28, 2013

ObamaCare Is Just A Medicaid Expansion Program: States Will Share In Medicaid Costs: Shortage Of Doctors Accepting Medicaid Resulting In Long Appointment Delays And Poor Health Results: Enrollment Bypasses Healthcare.Gov: Everybody Loses

From The Wall Street Journal, "States Report Medicaid Surge After Health-Law Rollout" by Amy Schatz and Jennifer Corbett Dooren:
Some states are signing up tens of thousands of new Medicaid enrollees in the initial weeks of the health law's rollout, while placing far fewer in private health insurance—a divergence that suggests Medicaid expansion may be a larger part of the law than expected.
In Washington state, one of the states that operates its own exchange, 87% of the 35,528 people who had enrolled in new insurance plans from Oct. 1 to Oct. 21 were joining Medicaid plans, according to state figures. By Thursday, 21,342 Kentuckians had newly enrolled in Medicaid, or 82% of total enrollees. In New York, about 64% of the 37,030 people who have finished enrolling were in Medicaid.
Medicaid, a federal-state health-insurance program for the poor, was long aimed at women, children and the elderly poor. The Affordable Care Act expanded it to cover people earning up to 133% of the federal poverty level.
Getting Medicaid is often simpler than private coverage, especially since many states have cut back on paperwork. Medicaid enrollees can go to state offices to sign up and avoid the federal portal, which currently can't transfer information about Medicaid-eligible people to the states. And Medicaid enrollees typically have fewer decisions to make on deductibles, prescription-drug plans and doctor networks.
About half of all states aren't joining the Medicaid expansion. Many cite fears about covering the costs over the long term or expanding government.
Critics of Medicaid expansion say the program is already overburdened and may not improve the health of enrollees.
Payments to doctors accepting Medicaid are low. Many doctors refuse to particpate in the Medcaid program and will not see patients enrolled in Medicaid. Patients have long wait times for appointments, for tests and for procedures. States share in the costs of Medicaid with some states paying half the cost. Initially, ObamaCare will pay 100 percent of new enrollee costs but States will pick up part of the new Medicaid costs over time.

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