Report on Medicaid Quality Gets Mixed Response
A Public Citizen report released last week looking at the quality of state Medicaid programs has received mixed reactions, the Washington Post reports (Brown, Washington Post, 4/22).
The report analyzed 2004 and 2005 data compiled by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, as well as independent data collected by Public Citizen, and ranked state Medicaid programs based on the extent to which they exceeded federal coverage requirements. According to the report, state Medicaid program eligibility requirements and benefits vary and are not portable across states.
In addition, the report found that state Medicaid programs vary in whether they offer optional benefits. The report said that the Medicaid system is "a bleak picture" for millions of U.S. residents who require health care and that the differences in state programs leave many residents with inadequate access to coverage and few physicians from whom to receive care (California Healthline, 4/19).
Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, called the report "mildly helpful" but "a little too much of a rearview-mirror picture."
Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said, "The overwhelming majority of people who are on Medicaid today would join the ranks of the uninsured if that program didn't exist. It truly has become a lifeline." Pollack added, "In the absence of Medicaid, a very troublesome situation would be truly catastrophic" (Washington Post, 4/22).