By Josh Kalven
June 12, 2009
 
On WTTW last night, State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) once again
cited Medicaid reform as a surefire way to plug the state’s budget
deficit. He proposed double-checking income "to confirm that you are
allowed to have it" and making sure "that we aren’t getting people from
out of state on Medicaid." He added, "Gov. Blagojevich and the majority
that passed these Medicaid expansions decided that we were going to be
the entire nation’s health care system. We can’t afford it." Watch
(full video here):

Cracking down on out-of-state and ineligible patients? This is how we’re going to rein in Medicaid costs? Really?

Also, it’s irresponsible to lay the growth in Medicaid eligibility
solely at the Democrats’ feet. As we noted yesterday, the biggest
expansions actually took place under a Republican administration.

Of course, if the GOP were actually serious about scaling back
Medicaid spending, they’d look to the health care reform efforts
happening at the national level. If health care costs are going to
drop, that is where it will happen, as the Woodstock Institute Dory
Rand noted in her minority opinion to the Taxpayer Action Board (TAB)
report (PDF, page 114):

In general on the issue of Medicaid cost inflation, there is a lack
of acknowledgement [in the TAB report] that Medicaid is part of a
larger health care system in this country, so that Medicaid cost
inflation is largely just an expression of inflation in the larger
system. I am told that Medicaid inflation is consistently several
points lower than inflation in the larger heath care system of which it
is a part (that is, Medicaid liability growth is several points lower
every year than the CPI for health care services). Since it seems
likely that the entire health care system in this country is headed for
reforms aimed at cutting costs (among other things – see President
Obama’s comprehensive reform plans, recent public releases from the
U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and recent release from the U.S. House
Education and Commerce Committee), the Board should at least note the
fact that one of the main ways to support reduction in Medicaid costs
is to fully support the success of the national reform effort. And,
regardless of the Board’s policy preferences in the national debate, it
should at least note this source of potentially reduced pressure on
state funded Medicaid spending in the near future.

 
 
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