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Do You Hear What I Hear about Medicaid?

Posted by Becky Martin, NPA Interim Operations Director December 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM

This excerpt is from an article written by Dr. Sanjeev K. Sriram, Pediatrician in Washington DC, member of the National Physicians Alliance published in the Huffington Post on 12/7/2012 at this link.

Recently, while doing some errands, I heard a Christmas carol that asked a simple, yet profound question: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” The song was composed 50 years ago, when our country was facing a man-made emergency brought about by the ill-advised decisions of political leaders: the Cuban Missile Crisis. In October 1962, when Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne composed what has now become a Christmas classic, they were terrified by the looming threat of nuclear war, but found inspiration in the innocence of children. They wrote “Do You Hear What I Hear?” as a clarion call for peace on behalf of young people. Fifty years later, our country is watching the ticking clock of the “fiscal cliff,” yet another man-made emergency brought about by the ill-advised decisions of political leaders. Though nuclear annihilation is not at stake, I am worried about children being caught in the crossfire as members of Congress take aim at Medicaid and other social programs in order to fix the deficit. As a pediatrician, with the well-being of children in mind, I ask Congress, “Do you hear what I hear?”

I hear and see my patients in southeast Washington, D.C., one of the poorest communities in America, getting health care and a lifeline through Medicaid. The patients I see are among over 30 million children across the country (that’s over 1 in 3 children in America) getting health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. Thanks to these programs, and the commonsense improvements made to them through the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 as well as the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured children in America decreased from 6.4 million in 2009 to 5.5 million in 2011. That is at an all time low. What makes this accomplishment even more remarkable is that it has occurred during tough economic times. Furthermore, children make up half of the people enrolled in Medicaid, but child health expenditures are only 20 percent of Medicaid spending. Between 2007 and 2010, Medicaid spending grew by only 2.5 percent per year per enrollee, which is significantly less than the growth of 5.5 percent per year that occurred per person enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance. Do you hear the bang for the buck?…

Click here to read the full article

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