Families USA's State Reports Document Bush's Assault on State Economies and the Consequences of Being Uninsured

Absent a national health care policy, states have found ways to expand the reach of Medicaid by covering more low-income, senior and disabled people and expanding the list of covered services.  Because of state action, 58 million Americans now have health coverage they would not otherwise possess.  To push back on the states, the Bush Administration put forward several new Medicaid regulations last year that, if implemented, will shift the burden and costs to states.  This will result in reduced benefits for millions of Americans unless already cash-strapped states find some way to pick up the slack - to the tune of $50 billion over five years.

The new Bush regulations include reducing reimbursements to providers and eliminating education programs for medical students, restricting the scope of rehabilitation services, restricting school-based and other efforts to enroll Medicaid-eligible children and adults, and reducing the scope of covered outpatient services.  The net impact, according to a survey of state Medicaid directors conducted by the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is a cut of at least $50 billion over five years in federal payments to states.  This is more than three times the Administration's own estimates of the state impact.

Families USA on Medicaid Cuts in the States:  The impact on state economies could be significant, as Families USA outlines in a series of state-specific reports, Bad Medicine: The President's Medicaid Regulations Will Weaken State Economies.  If the regulations go into effect, the result will be thousands of lost jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business activity because of the reduced federal funding.  Families USA has profiled the impact on 24 states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  "Deep in the heart" of Bush's home state, Texas will lose $3.4 billion in federal Medicaid funding, 6,000 jobs, and $635.8 million in business activity if the regulations are allowed to stand.  Meanwhile Congress is trying to delay implementation of the regulations until April 2009. 

Dying for Coverage: Another series of state-specific reports from Families USA documents the "dire consequences" of being uninsured.  In Dying for Coverage, Families USA documents deaths caused from lack of insurance.  In one of the most striking examples, 8 adults die each day in California because they have no health insurance.  Elsewhere, in Illinois, Families USA found that 18 adults die each week for lack of coverage.  Across the US, twice as many people died in 2006 from lack of health insurance as died from homicides.   Families USA issued reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia

As Families USA reports, the uninsured are sicker and die earlier than insured Americans.  The uninsured are also less likely to have a steady source of care outside of emergency rooms, are less likely to receive preventive care, and are more likely to delay or go without needed treatment.  President Bush's Medicaid regulations will swell the ranks of the uninsured, further stress state economies, and subject more Americans to the dire consequences of our disjointed and irrational health care system.

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