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Medicaid expansion the latest thing to be obstructed for no real reason

by: Eric B.

Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:35:56 AM EST


These people don't have reasons, they only have obstructionism.

Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton, speaking Thursday during an appropriations hearing on Snyder's budget, argued that the state could benefit by continuing to delay action on the health exchange, suggesting that it would leave the federal government without a way to penalize businesses with at least 50 employees who do not provide affordable health insurance, as the new law will soon require.

Colbeck also asked Snyder and Budget Director John Nixon why they were "so eager" to "get into bed" with the federal government on Medicaid expansion, which requires trust in a funding pledge made by a Congress and president who have failed to agree on a budget in several years.

There is literally no good reason given in that first paragraph. In fact, I'm not sure there is any reason given in it. Employers are already getting rid of private insurance in favor of health care exchanges, which means if they set one up, businesses that employ at least 50 people could opt out of providing insurance, pay a penalty, but ultimately see lower costs. The employees would then get to find their own health care on the exchange.

As for the second, this is perhaps the dumbest thing said yet by a state lawmaker as it relates to health care reform. Giving people health insurance of some kind means reducing their eventual costs of health care because they'll seek out preventative care, rather than emergency care through a hospital. If they don't have insurance, they get billed, but if they don't have health care, they're apt to not be able to pay the bill, so it gets passed along to everyone else, who sees their rates go up as a result.

Health care costs, by the way, are one of the primary reasons for our federal debt, not spending on cocaine and hookers for Big Bird. They're going up because the nation as a whole is getting older and less healthy. This would help stem the rise of those costs, and thus deal with federal debt, which Republicans keep screaming about. When given the chance to do something, what we get from them is partisan obstructionism.

Meanwhile, Roger Kahn channels Magic Frank.

For example, the Affordable Care Act provides primary care physicians with a two-year incentive to continue seeing Medicaid patients by guaranteeing them Medicare reimbursement rates. When that fixed rate expires, Kahn said, some physicians may decide to stop seeing Medicaid patients.

"An insurance card is not access," Kahn said. "It's having someone take care of you that's access. And (if a patient can't see a physician) where will these people go? To the emergency room, and then where's the savings?"

Reimbursement rates are indeed an important issue. What's stupid about this, however, is if a Medicaid person winds up in the emergency room for lack of prevenative care access, he still has some kind of insurance that pays for it. If they go there right now, with no insurance whatsoever, they have only themselves to pay for it. And, a reimbursement at a rate below costs of treatment is still much better for the hospital than no payment because the patient is dirt poor.

Eric B. :: Medicaid expansion the latest thing to be obstructed for no real reason
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