Wednesday, January 9, 2008

On Federal Plans to Impose Control Over Medicaid

One of the social security benefits enjoyed by members includes Medicare, the health care coverage which is part of the federal government social security program. And people who cannot afford to pay medicare are instead assisted by government through Medicaid. In this way, poor people are given access to medical care and needs.

I just come across a news article, “U.S. Curtailing Bids To Expand Medicaid Rolls”, reported in January 4, which announces the plan of President George W. Bush to impose restrictions on the states ability to expand eligibility for Medicaid. The report said the plan aims to prevent the states from ‘offering coverage to families of modest incomes who may have access to private health insurance’.

We may not know yet what could be the consequences of this decision if the plan pushes through. But it could suffer the same fate as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in which the federal government imposed control over the health program traditionally held by state governments.

According to the article, the move was planned in order to improve the government’s health care program nationwide. Government officials said imposing the restriction will help the federal government set aside more funds for needy children and beneficiaries where they are badly needed. In other words, the plan aims to ‘direct scarce tax dollars to those with the greatest needs’.

At present, several states including Louisiana, Ohio and Oklahoma have applied for expanded eligibility for their states’ Medicaid programs and are awaiting approval by the federal government.

I believe the plan of the federal government to restrict expand of the eligibility for Medicaid will attain its greater objective of providing health assistance to the greater number of our people.