Tag: Medicaid expansion

By Kelly McCutchen It’s been a rough summer for health care. Sixteen of the 23 federally funded, not-for-profit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (co-ops) have now failed. Humana reduced its Georgia coverage area and Cigna, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna have completely pulled out of Georgia’s federally managed insurance exchange. Most premium rate increase requests for 2017 are in the double digits – the weighted average increase is 27 percent. We got ours in the mail last week: 16 percent. In some parts of Georgia, the outlook is worse. With little competition, rural Georgia has the dubious distinction of some of the nation’s highest health care prices and worst health care outcomes. Four rural hospitals recently were forced to close, including the… View Article

Expand Access to Care, Not Medicaid

By Kelly McCutchen Those addressing Georgia’s uninsured and failing hospitals seem stuck between two options: expanding a government program (Medicaid) with its own long list of challenges, or doing nothing. It’s a false choice. Expanding Medicaid is undoubtedly the worst option for providing more Georgians access. For providers – even with more money from the federal government – Medicaid still pays less than their cost. It’s a bad deal for taxpayers: Expansion is estimated to cost more than $7,000 for able-bodied adults; the current Medicaid program spends $3,022. If Georgia’s more than 200,000 low-income adults who already have private insurance opt for the “free” program, the cost will be even higher. It’s also a bad deal for recipients. A study… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The lineup is complete for the Sixth Annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Thursday, October 15, with a theme and speakers that live up to its description as “the opening shot” to the Georgia legislative session. Hundreds of attendees, from interested citizens to legislators and their staff, attend the daylong forum each year. Why? Because organizers invite outstanding state and national experts to outline limited-government policy proposals that can be applied in Georgia. This year, the goal is to advance opportunities in health care, education and work across the state. To that end, three sessions and two breakout sessions reflect the event theme, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity,” a take on the state motto of “Wisdom, Justice,… View Article

Checking Up On Health: May 6, 2014

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd Good news, bad news: Merck & Co. has agreed to buy rival  Schering-Plough Corp. for $41.1 billion, just six weeks over Pfizer announced it is buying Wyeth for $68 billion and even as Roche Holding AG finalizes its purchase of the remaining shares of Genentech Inc. The Wall Street Journal calls it “the latest attempt by pharmaceutical companies to diversify as they seek to weather the recession and cope with the unpredictability of drug development.” The good news is they’ll survive. The bad news is it means less pharmaceutical R&D. The newspaper puts it this way: “The pace of drug discovery has since slowed amid tougher regulatory scrutiny, and… View Article

Thinking Outside the ObamaCare Box

By Kelly McCutchen Health care costs threaten to bankrupt our country. Debates over Medicaid expansion, the Medicare “doc fix,” the State of Georgia’s health plan, coverage of autism and so many other health care issues merely shift these costs from one party to another. The time has come for a “let’s go to the moon” challenge that truly addresses the underlying problems. Higher education costs are on a similar trajectory. A few years ago, governors Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida challenged their higher education institutions to design a four-year bachelor’s degree program for $10,000 or less. Not $10,000 a year but $10,000 for all four years. Many schools rose to the challenge, met it and now… View Article

Designing An Alternative to Medicaid Expansion

Key components for an alternative to Medicaid expansion: Catastrophic insurance. A private insurance policy provides catastrophic coverage, protecting individuals (and taxpayers) from large, unexpected expenses and giving individuals peace of mind that they are covered if they need major surgery or need expensive treatment for a condition such as cancer. Private insurance means individuals avoid the problems with many providers refusing to see new Medicaid patients. Reasonable cost sharing. The coverage is not free, but requires reasonable payments of up to 5 percent of income. This limits “crowd out” where individuals who are already paying for insurance drop their private insurance for the “free” government coverage. According to the Census Bureau, 222,000 adults with income below the Federal… View Article
There are many downsides to adding even more people into an expensive, over-regulated Medicaid program,[1] but that doesn’t mean Georgia shouldn’t try to propose a better option. This is an opportunity to create a less expensive, more effective plan.   Goals of Expanded Access: Insure for unexpected, expensive health care outcomes to protect individuals and taxpayers Improve health outcomes by improving access to primary care Discourage expensive trips to emergency rooms for routine care Discourage crowding out private insurance coverage Called “the most innovative and successful reform of Medicaid in the history of the program” by Forbes magazine’s Avik Roy, Indiana’s expansion of health insurance to low-income citizens is a good model to analyze. Healthy Indiana[2] The Hoosier State’s… View Article
“Because policymakers expected all states to expand Medicaid and thus reduce their uninsured populations, the Affordable Care Act also included a schedule of accelerating cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, reaching $5.6 billion by fiscal year 2019, according to Governing magazine. “But thanks to lobbying around the budget deal reached last month, the Disproportionate Share Hospital program dodged $500 billion in cuts in 2014 and another $600 billion in 2015.” “The delay is a particularly big deal for our county hospitals that are not doing the Medicaid expansion,” Beddoe said. “We also can’t overlook the fact that there are public hospitals in states that are expanding that will breathe a sigh of relief because of the high number of… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has wisely resisted the lure of federal Medicaid dollars. Doubling down on faulty, unsustainable federal programs is what got this country into its current fiscal mess. What’s disappointing is that governors like Nathan Deal who request the flexibility to try new solutions are denied that opportunity. It’s “my way or the highway” with the federal government.  It’s inevitable: Americans will have to decide what’s more important, solving problems or scoring political points. The lack of access to health care is a real problem, but instead of being freed up to try new ideas, states are forced to choose the status quo or expanding a nearly 50-year-old Medicaid program with a history of unsustainable… View Article

Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle more quotes