January-February 2019 | Volume 100, Number 1
BY: ANGELA N. BOTTICELLA
The Medicaid program, which was expected to cover about 75 million Americans by the end of 2018, provides essential health care coverage for people from all walks of life, including half of the babies born in the U.S. and over 60 percent of the nation's nursing home residents. Multiple studies underscore the benefits of Medicaid to those enrolled and to society at large...
BY: JOHN MORRISSEY
Two single men, both struggling to get by, have contrasting prospects when seeking to safeguard their health with Medicaid coverage. One lives in Cleveland, makes $16,700 a year and receives the benefits of the government health program for the poor. The other, a Miami resident, brings in just $6,000 — half of what the federal government considers poverty-level income — but isn't eligible. He would easily qualify in Cleveland.
BY: GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS
For many years, Louisiana had one of the nation's highest rates of uninsured residents, with nearly 23 percent of adults not having health insurance coverage. Louisiana has also routinely ranked among states with the highest rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and overall poor health. Because so many of our people lacked health coverage, hundreds of thousands were not able to regularly visit the doctor, receive preventive care or manage their health conditions.
BY: DEB FISCHER-CLEMENS
Medicaid is an integral source of health care coverage and access for low-income Americans. In the Avera Health rural service area comprising 72,000 square miles, Medicaid is critical to ensure that children, pregnant women, individuals with disabilities and people age 65 and older can obtain care at the right time and right place.
BY: RHONDA MEDOWS, MD
With about 73 million people — or 1 in 5 Americans — enrolled in Medicaid, effectively managing their health care seems an imperative for today's health systems. However, as more than 74 percent of Medicaid recipients are enrolled in Medicaid managed care health plans, for-profit insurers typically dominate this health insurance sector, sometimes gaining billion-dollar benefits for taking on the complexities of directing care for what is a growing, and often vulnerable, population.
BY: CINDY MANN, JD AND ADAM STRIAR, MPA
Although efforts to cap federal funding for the Medicaid program have faded from the limelight since Congressional attempts in 2017 failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, such proposals continue to be advanced. The President's FY 2019 budget calls for a block grant to replace uncapped funding for the Medicaid expansion, with most other federal Medicaid spending subject to a per-person cap.
BY: ELISABETH WRIGHT BURAK, MPP, MSW
Medicaid provides health coverage to the nation's lowest income and most vulnerable children. Many of these children have higher health care needs than the general population and live in families without the resources to pay for needed care. Medicaid's comprehensive, child-focused benefits are uniquely designed to meet these higher health care needs and to maximize a child's potential by addressing developmental delays and health conditions that affect school performance and success in life.
BY: KEVIN J. SEXTON
We are at a critical time in the evolution of our national health care system, especially with respect to whether it will continue its recent progress toward providing greater health insurance coverage to those in need. The alternative is that we will fall back, increase the ranks of the uninsured and miss an opportunity to help individuals and communities achieve a much higher level of overall health and well-being.
BY: FR. CHARLES BOUCHARD, OP, STD
Debates about Medicaid and Medicaid expansion tend to revolve around two main issues: money and politics. But Medicaid, and health care reform in general, also are ethical questions. They are rooted in the Scriptural mandate to seek justice, exercise good stewardship and to care for the poor and vulnerable. This mandate is at the heart of Catholic social teaching, which favors the poor, protects human dignity and the common good. It has a relatively sanguine view of the role of government and consistently speaks of "us" rather than "me."
BY: JOSHUA ALLEE, MSED, MAHCM
Recently, at a pastoral gathering known as a parish mission, Fr. Jim Marchionda combined his love of music with his preaching skills to inspire and nourish our spirits. I frequently listen to music on my commutes to and from the hospital, so I purchased one of his CDs, knowing it would come in handy.
BY: MICHAEL K. GUSMANO, PhD
In light of the failure of the 115th Congress to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration has used executive actions in an effort to reduce the reach of the ACA.1 As part of that strategy, the administration has encouraged states to submit Medicaid waivers that include work requirements and greater out-of-pocket payments on some adult Medicaid beneficiaries. Although these efforts have been challenged in federal court, such requirements have been implemented in Arkansas, and there are plans to implement similar programs in a number of additional states.
BY: DAVID LEWELLEN
Tress Gehrke left her digital marketing job in 2012, confident that she could find another position quickly. She turned out to be wrong. But Oregon Health Plan, the name of her state's Medicaid program, helped stabilize her health.