Thursday, July 7, 2011

Medicaid Makes A Difference

Medicaid supporters are abuzz about a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study on the benefits of Medicaid, as well as a series of articles on the often ignored voices of enrollees who enthusiastically support the program.  The NBER study was recently featured on National Public Radio (NPR) and in the New York Times.  It examined an October 2008 Medicaid expansion opportunity for 10,000 adults without disabilities in Oregon with incomes below the poverty line.  Because it was expected that many more than 10,000 Medicaid-eligible individuals would apply, the state decided to hold a lottery to determine who could get coverage.  The study provided a rare randomly selected sample of individuals who obtained Medicaid coverage and a sample of people who remained uninsured. 

Some of the (not so startling, but “we told you so”) results were: 
·         Medicaid enrollees were 35% more likely to go to a clinic or see a doctor, 15% more likely to use prescription drugs, and 30% more likely to be admitted to a hospital.
·         Women enrolled in Medicaid were 60% more likely to have mammograms.
·         Medicaid enrollees were 40% less likely to say that their health had worsened in the past year than the uninsured.

More details on the NBER study can be found at: 

Second, NPR featured the experiences of new Medicaid enrollees and how the program has assisted them in obtaining maternity care.  One of the articles, “Medicaid Helps Uninsured Couple Pay for Pregnancy Care,” details the soon-to-be first time mother’s Medicaid enrollment process and her experience seeking prenatal and related health care, as well as the misperceptions about Medicaid. For the complete article, see

Last, but by no means least – our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs have issued an action alert to protect Medicaid from deficit reduction plans and budget cuts that include block grants, federal caps, and blended Medicaid rates.  In addition, more friends from
Caring Across Generations, the PICO National Network, Alliance for a Just Society, Community Catalyst and the Campaign for Community Change have organized a “Medicaid Matters” day of action on July 12.  For details on both of these activities, and to voice your support of millions of people who know that Medicaid is a safety-net program. . .please see the information below:

Calls needed NOW:
Targets:  President Obama (toll-free comment line, call from 9-5 EST:   1-888-245-0215 – this number is being used by several other coalitions for budget advocacy)

Toll-free number for the targets in the House and Senate - 1-888-907-1485, which directs callers to the Capitol switchboard:
Senate - Reid (NV), Baucus (MT), Warner (VA), Durbin (IL), Conrad (ND), Collins and Snowe (ME)
House -Van Hollen and Hoyer (MD), Clyburn (SC), and Pelosi (CA)

Messages:  Families and communities of color would be disproportionately impacted by cuts to critical safety net programs, like Medicaid.  Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of people and the building block of improvements passed in health reform.  Proposals to cut Medicaid – from block grants to blended rates – only shift costs to states, providers and beneficiaries, and harm a lot of people along the way. They would take us a giant step backward just as we need to be taking steps forward to implement health reform and help people hit by the recession to get back on their feet .  Medicaid and other programs for low-income families and individuals must be protected, and revenues must be included in the final budget deal. 

Budget Advocacy Tools:
Coalition on Human Needs – scroll down the page on this helpful website for a Toolkit for Advocates – includes archived webinars on budget issues and other helpful resources. 
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – lots of great data and analysis.  Including an analysis of Medicaid blended rates
Georgetown Center for Children and Families also has a great blog on Medicaid blended rates.

Other activities:
July 12 – “Medicaid Matters” events –

Dear Partner, 
On Tuesday July 12th, Caring Across Generations, the PICO National Network, Alliance for a Just Society, Community Catalyst and the Campaign for Community Change will join Senator Rockefeller and other champions to stand up for the millions of seniors, children, people with disabilities and working families who depend on Medicaid and Medicare.  
Please RSVP here to join us at the event. 
Despite overwhelming public support, Medicaid faces continued threats from policymakers who are willing to make a deal that sacrifices heath care for those who need it most while billionaires get tax breaks and rich CEOs enjoy tax loopholes. We need a plan for deficit reduction that reflects our values, that protects the most vulnerable, and that doesn’t shift the burden onto middle class families and states. 
Together, faith and community leaders will raise our voices to demand a fair, balanced and principled approach to the deficit that does not pay our country’s bills by inflicting crushing costs on seniors, families, children and people with disabilities while asking nothing of those who can most afford to pay their fair share. 
On July 12th raise your voice and tell the Senate that “Medicaid Matters!”
  • Come to DCJoin us for a rally from 2:30-3:30 in the Dirksen Senate Building
  • Sign up for a call to action so your grassroots network across the country has the opportunity to tell their Senators “Medicaid Matters!”
We need you to help send a message to Washington: Medicaid matters! Americans want Washington to stop playing politics with our health care! 
Community Catalyst

Deborah A. Reid
 Senior Attorney
National Health Law Program (NHeLP)
1444 Eye Street, N.W., Suite 1105
Washington, DC  20005
"Securing health rights for those in need"

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