Recently there’s been a series of blog posts, citing information first reported here, which attempt to make political hay out of the fact that John Foust’s wife works at an OB/GYN that does not accept Medicaid.
Some clarifying facts:
- John Foust supports accepting federal funds to expand the state of Virginia’s Medicaid program, recouping taxes already levied from Virginians and potentially saving hundreds of Virginians’ lives each year.
- Medicaid is a program run by each state. The quality of the program, and the intricacies of rules for participating in it, are naturally controlled by the individual state.
- Foust’s wife works at a practice in the District of Columbia, which has a distinct Medicaid program from Virginia’s.
- An estimated half of medical practices nationwide do not accept Medicaid.
The American health system is exceptionally complex, and medical reimbursement is one of the most complicated things about it. In deciding which insurance types to accept, health care providers must weigh a lot of tough issues. A decision not to participate in Medicaid is often made reluctantly and are far from a definitive representation of an individual practitioner’s position on Medicaid in general–much less a reason to conclude a spouse should reject the idea of expanding Medicaid in a completely different jurisdiction.
Barbara Comstock opposes getting the federal dollars to expand VA’s Medicaid. This means that hundreds of thousandsof Virginians will remain without access to decent healthcare. A recent study predicted that in “opt-out” states like Virginia “many low-income women will forego recommended breast and cervical cancer screening; diabetics will forego medications, and all low-income adults will face a greater likelihood of depression, catastrophic medical expenses, and death… Opt-out states are also turning down billions of dollars of potential revenue which might strengthen their local economy.”
Meanwhile some Virginians are waiting in line for 30 hours so they can have free medical care one day a year, through a charity called Remote Area Medicine.
Sick people can’t build a healthy economy. Of course John Foust should call out Barbara Comstock for her shortsighted penny-pinching when it comes to Virginians’ health.
- In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of all the major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), but provided the states the option of whether or not to expand Medicaid eligibility up to 133% (plus a 5% income disregard) of federal poverty.
- Costs of the expansion are 100% federally funded for 2014 through 2016, decreasing incrementally to 90% for 2020 and subsequent years for all newly eligible enrollees. After 2016, the state share increases gradually, and is capped at 10% by 2020.
- The federal match for children/pregnant women would increase from 65% to 87% between 2015 and 2019.