When it comes to healthcare, said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick, “the decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” With healthcare costs rising and Medicaid enrollment growing — and slated to increase by another 16 million beginning in 2014 — Americans are already getting an eye-opening experience in what such rationing will look like.
According to two recent USA Today articles by Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News, several states, feeling the pinch of increased Medicaid enrollment and the end of federal “stimulus” spending, “are pushing Medicaid recipients into managed-care plans run by private insurers, cutting reimbursement rates to hospitals and doctors and reducing benefits.” In short, they’re rationing care.
How can this be when government-run healthcare is touted as protecting Americans from money-grubbing private insurers who would deny them necessary treatment? Galewitz explains:
The new federal health law requires states to maintain Medicaid eligibility and enrollment standards until 2014, when the expansion begins to add 16 million Americans to the program. States are still free, however, to cut optional benefits, which include drugs, vision care and visits to certain providers such as chiropractors and podiatrists.
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