Sunday, October 7, 2012


ACTUALLY....... It's not well known, but almost 1/3 of America's kids get their health care from Medicaid, which is a program that serves the poor.  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's plans are to severely cut federal funding, which clearly will effect Medicaid and would shrink the number of kids getting health care. In his own words Romney said "I'm not concerned about the very poor". Both Romney and Ryan are in agreement to transform medicaid from an entitlement into a "block grant" program that would give each state a certain amount of money each year to spend on health care services for the poor.

Children's advocates are concerned in particular about the kids losing their benefits if the plan is adopted.  With the cuts that Ryan proposed in a budget adopted by the House Republicans last March, all children covered today would not be able to keep their health benefits.

America's children make up about about 1/3 of Medicaids beneficiaries.  The rest is pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly.   The President of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that taking money from the Medicaid program would assure that a number of children would be dropped. 

Medicaid funding is a big and growing problem.The Federal and state governments spent $404 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.   Enrollment is up - at least 10 million people have joined Medicaid since 2007, just before the recession began.  Spending and enrollment grew because more people needed assistance, not because the program is not controlling costs.  Romney has not yet issued a detailed proposal, however according to his website, he does support converting Medicaid into a block program.

According to Henry J. Kaiser Family Program analysis of his 2011 plan, Ryan's proposal would cause between 10 million and 27 million people to loose their Medicaid benefits.  Romney and Ryan also want to repeal the health care reform law, which will add 11 million people to Medicaid starting in 2014.  Pennsylvania has removed 90,000 kids from it's Medicaid program since last August.  "Block grant" proposals would give Governors more flexibility to shrink Medicaid.  The "block grant" program in Ryan's budget would give states the freedom to innovate, and I seriously dislike that term!! That includes the freedom to purge people from the Medicaid rolls.  Children's advocates may be focused on kids but the elderly and disabled are also vulnerable.