A new policy paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities offers an excellent overview of Medicaid, the state-federal partnership program that provides health care coverage to millions of low-income children and adults. The data is clear – Medicaid is a cost-effective program that saves lives and money. Some of the highlights from the report include:
- Expansions of Medicaid coverage for children in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s led to a 5.1 percent reduction in childhood deaths.
- Expansions of Medicaid coverage for pregnant women led to an 8.5 percent decrease in infant mortality and a 7.8 percent decrease in the incidence of low birth weight.
- Adults on Medicaid are more than twice as likely to have a usual source of care than their uninsured counterparts. They are nearly twice as likely to have had a doctor’s visit in the past 12 months, and are more likely to receive timely care.
- An expansion of Medicaid in Oregon for low-income adults showed that adults with Medicaid were more likely to access preventive care, less likely to borrow money or leave bills unpaid in order to cover medical expenses, and were less likely to report a decline in their health over the past six months.
It costs less to cover people through Medicaid than through private insurance, and Medicaid costs per beneficiary have grown more slowly than with private insurance premiums.
Right now, Nebraska has the opportunity to provide Medicaid coverage to 54,000 low-income adults who would otherwise have no other means of accessing health insurance. LB 577 would allow Nebraska to take advantage of this opportunity. And best of all, the federal government will fully fund the cost of the new Medicaid coverage from 2014 through 2016, and the state will never pay more than 10 percent of the costs for the newly eligible.
The fact is, Medicaid works. Contact your senator today to let them know that you support LB 577.