What is the Future of Medicaid?
Medicaid, which is the nation's government funded healthcare program, provides insurance for millions of American citizens and legal immigrants each year. This insurance program covers both adults and children who have limited resources and fall into the lower income categories that are designated by each state.
Many changes have taken effect in recent years to allow states to incorporate a managed care system. However, even more changes are in store for Medicaid in the future.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into effect by President Obama in 2010, is also commonly referred to as Obamacare. In respect to Medicaid, this law broadens Medicaid's eligibility requirements, which means that many individuals and families who did not previously have healthcare because their income was too high to qualify for Medicaid, will qualify in the future. The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to provide insurance to more American citizens and legal immigrants, as well as to increase the quality of the care people have access to. Also, The Affordable Care Act aims to lower the cost of healthcare for the government as well as for individuals.
The Supreme Court and the Future of Medicaid
In June 2013, the Supreme Court weighed in on the future of Medicaid by reviewing The Affordable Care Act and making some adjustments. When it was signed into law, states were mandated to make changes the law dictated. However, the Supreme Court declared these mandates to be unconstitutional. As a result, the states have the power to expand their eligibility requirements under the law, or they can choose to keep their Medicaid program the same.
As an incentive to expand, the Federal government is offering 100% funding of the states' Medicaid programs for the first three years following the expansion. Once those three years is over, there will be a step-down process until the Federal government is funding Medicaid at 90% by the year 2020.
Many states have opted not to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion under The Affordable Care Act. Even so, there are still many variables to consider, and many states have not made a determination about their intentions to expand or keep their program the same. It's unclear whether or not the government will allow a partial expansion to take place.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is set to go into effect with the beginning of 2014.