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The Future of Medicaid

LongIsland.com

The current state of the economy and the rise in unemployment have resulted in a greater demand for medicaid coverage in the United States. In addition, experts predict that Medicaid enrollment will grow approximately 7 ...

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The current state of the economy and the rise in unemployment have resulted in a greater demand for medicaid coverage in the United States. In addition, experts predict that Medicaid enrollment will grow approximately 7 - 8% next year. Currently, the states, including New York, receive funds from the federal government in order to pay for the costs of the state's medicaid programs. The government has already rejected the request of many states for an increase in funding due to the current economic situation.

On February 3, 2002, President Bush delivered a $2.2 trillion fiscal year 2003 budget to Congress. In response to President Bush's budget, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trilion fiscal year 2003 budget resolution that would cut approximately $100 million dollars from the Medicaid program over the course of the next 10 years. While there is still time before we know the outcome of the final budget (the Sente has to pass its own budget resolution and then both the House and Senate resolutions will go to House-Senate conference), many fear that there may still be significantly less funding allocated to the states for Medicaid.

In his budget, President Bush proposes and additional $12.7 billion in Medicaid funding over seven years but the added resources are limited to states that agree to convert to a Medicaid block grant with capped funding regardless of the number of new beneficiaries joining the program. States that prefer to continue under the existing program are ineligible for additional assistance.

If President Bush's proposal passes Congress, the states would not need to provide any guarantees about the coverage status of current Medicaid enrollees. The benefits of many Medicaid beneficiaries could be drastically reduced or even eliminated.

The moral of the story: plan now.