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CHIP Outreach Gets More Kids Covered

From Kaiser Health News:

By Phil Galewitz

August 18th, 2011, 5:31 PM

If you build it, they will come … at least some of the time.

The number of children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)  but not enrolled fell to 4.3 million in 2009 from 4.7 million the prior year, according to a report out today.  The drop is significant because it occurred even as the number of children eligible for the programs rose by 3 million as a result of the economic downturn.

Researchers and federal officials attributed part of the improvement in signing up uninsured kids to the March 2009 reauthorization of the CHIP program, which spurred states to increase eligibility in the program as well as provided new federal funding to increase outreach and streamline enrollment efforts.  “Without the CHIP reauthorization we would not have seen these gains, “ said Genevieve Kenney, a study author and a health economist with the Urban Institute. The report comes from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Continue reading

RomneyCare: Program Review Shows Appealing Efficacy

From The Boston Globe:


June 26, 2011|By Brian C. Mooney, Globe Staff

Second of two stories on Mitt Romney and the state health care overhaul.

On a sunny autumn afternoon in October 2008, Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, met New Hampshire portrait artist Richard Whitney at the State House and went to the governor’s office he once occupied on the third floor.

About eight months earlier, Romney had dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and his successor, Deval Patrick, had arranged for them to use his office to shoot photos to be used for Romney’s official portrait, which would be unveiled the following year.

The artist and former governor had already met at Romney’s vacation home in Wolfeboro,, N.H., to discuss the painting, and Romney was clear on the image he wanted to convey for posterity.

He would be at his desk, wearing a light blue business suit and tie. Visible in the frame would be symbols of what he held dear and how he wanted to be remembered.

One was a photo of Ann, center of his personal universe.

The other was an official-looking document, with the symbol of the medical profession — the caduceus — embossed in gold on the cover. It stood for the Massachusetts health care law, passed in 2006, his final year as governor. Easily the most memorable achievement of his political career, it is now perhaps the biggest hurdle to achieving his presidential dream. Continue reading

Contradicting Surveys Create Public Confusion

From The New York Times:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin headed a group of 105 economists opposed to the ACA

By — June 20, 2011

The debate over the effects of the federal health care law on employer-provided insurance has been intensifying in recent weeks, with controversial polls and consultants contradicting one another about whether employees will benefit or lose coverage by 2014.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin headed a group of 105 economists opposed to the Affordable Care Act.

After nearly two weeks of widespread queries and criticisms, McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm, posted on Monday the questionnaire and methodology of an online survey it had released that was denounced by the White House and others for contending that nearly a third of employers would definitely or probably drop coverage for employees when provisions of the health care law took effect in 2014. Continue reading

Shoddy McKinsey Survey Draws Democrats’ Wrath

From Talking Points Memo:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)

Brian Beutler| June 20, 2011, 6:08PM

Democratic members of Congress who pressed the consulting giant McKinsey & Company to open the books on its disputed health care study are piling on, now that the firm’s released its survey materials.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), who took a leading role in the pressure campaign, just lambasted the firm for inadequately addressing the controversy. Baucus also provided new details about a private meeting the firm’s representatives had with members of his own staff about the survey.

“McKinsey has long held a reputation for fair-minded analysis, so it is particularly disappointing that this study does not live up to that reputation — or even come close. McKinsey made clear and definitive predictions, and, in the face of tough questions, simply changed their story” said Baucus. “This report is filled with cherry-picked facts and slanted questions – it did not provide employers with enough information for them to make honest choices and fair evaluations. Rather than correct the major deficiencies in their report, McKinsey has chosen to again stand by their faulty analysis and misguided conclusions.” Continue reading

Medicaid Block Grant Forebodes Declines In Enrollment

From the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families:

By Martha Heberlein– June 15, 2011 8:57 AM

A recent study from the folks at the Urban Institute provides state-by-state enrollment projections under the House budget plan. I don’t think any regular Say Ahhh! readers will be surprised to learn that the news isn’t good.

Under the plan, there will be a 44% reduction in federal Medicaid funds, including spending under the ACA. Taking the ACA out of the picture, federal funding would decline by 31% under the block grant proposed in the House budget. In response, states will have to determine how they will manage their Medicaid programs with far less federal support. The authors suggest what might happen to enrollment under three different scenarios. Let’s take a closer look, ignoring the expansion of Medicaid that is scheduled to occur in 2014 as a result of the ACA: Continue reading

GOP’s Medicaid Proposal Also Would Cut Seniors’ Coverage

From The New York Times:


Published: May 10, 2011

WASHINGTON — As Republicans inch away from their plan to reshape the nation’s Medicare program, their equally transformative ideas for Medicaid, now largely in the shadows of the budget debate, are moving front and center.

While the largest number of Medicaid recipients are low-income children and adults, who tend to be far less politically potent voices in battles over entitlement programs than older voters, the changes to Medicaid proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget chairman, could actually have a more direct impact on older Americans than the Medicare part of his plan.

The House plan would turn Medicaid, which provides health coverage for the poor through a combination of federal and state money, into a block grant program for states. The federal government would give lump sums to states, which in turn would be given more flexibility and independence over use of the money, though the plan does not spell out what the federal requirements would be.

Beginning in 2013, these grants would increase annually at the rate of inflation, with adjustments for population growth, a rate far below that of inflation for health care costs. As a result, states, which have said that they cannot afford to keep up with the program’s costs, are likely to scale back coverage. Such a reduction, critics fear, could have a disproportionate effect on Medicaid spending for nursing home care for the elderly or disabled.

Continue reading

If Partisanship Hadn’t Replaced Public Service…

…this report would bode very well for the Affordable Care Act.

First Focus Report Finds Medicaid Savings from Health Reform Will Significantly Exceed Costs to State Budgets

Washington D.C. – As the President and Congressional leaders meet with governors this week to discuss the fiscal challenges facing states across the nation, a new report released today finds that states could reap significant budget savings as a result of health reform legislation passed earlier this year.

The report, “Net Effects of the Affordable Care Act on State Budgets,” commissioned by the non-partisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus and authored by Urban Institute researchers Stan Dorn and Matthew Buettgens, assesses how state budgets will fare as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The report’s findings shed new light on potential savings for state Medicaid budgets which, even in a worse-case scenario, would outweigh costs associated with the health reform law. The analysis shows that savings could range between $40.6 billion to as high as $131.6 billion during 2014-2019.

The report comes at a time when a few governors are even going to the extreme case of considering the elimination of their Medicaid programs as a way to reduce costs.

Continue reading