Medicaid Reform

July 16, 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 25
Will efforts to cut costs hurt the poor?
By Rebecca Adams

Introduction

The elderly and disabled account for 70 percent of Medicaid expenses, although most recipients are children and low-income parents. Facing swelling costs and dwindling revenues, some states are cutting Medicaid eligibility, benefits or payment rates.  (PhotoDisc)
The elderly and disabled account for 70 percent of Medicaid expenses, although most recipients are children and low-income parents. Facing swelling costs and dwindling revenues, some states are cutting Medicaid eligibility, benefits or payment rates. (PhotoDisc)

Rising medical costs and declining tax revenues in recent years have forced many states to make deep cuts in services provided by Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. Both state and federal officials want to lower the program's spiraling costs — largely from prescription drugs and long-term care — but there is widespread disagreement about what changes are needed. Republicans say Medicaid — the nation's largest health insurance program — needs a radical overhaul. Instead of an unlimited entitlement program, they want to convert at least part of the program into a capped grant, which would give states more freedom from federal rules. Democrats say caps would be inequitable because they would lead to deeper cuts in tough economic times. Both liberals and conservatives agree, however, that the current growth of the program must be addressed.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Medicaid and Medicare
Jul. 16, 2004  Medicaid Reform
Aug. 22, 2003  Medicare Reform
Jul. 18, 1975  Medicare and Medicaid After Ten Years
May 24, 1967  Medical Costs and Medicare
Dec. 08, 1965  Preparations for Medicare
Apr. 20, 1960  Medical Aid to the Aged
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicaid and Medicare
Pharmaceuticals