3. What "Medicare for All" means for Medicaid
The fact that "Medicare for All" would eliminate Medicaid hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as its elimination of private insurance. But it should, Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman writes in his latest Axios column.
Why it matters: State Medicaid programs are leaders in experimenting with delivery and payment reforms, efforts to control drug costs, and addressing social causes of ill health, such as poverty and poor housing.
- All of those projects would still be important in a single-payer world.
- But states' specific reforms — and the idea of states as laboratories of reform — would pretty much disappear under Sen. Bernie Sanders' proposal,
Yes, but: Although states would lose a lot of their ability to shape and experiment with policy, they'd save a ton of money in the process.
- Medicaid is the single largest item in most state budgets.
The bottom line: For advocates of a single national plan, eliminating the patchwork of state Medicaid programs would be progress. For fans of a federal-state balance, it's a big problem.
- Either way, Medicaid is a large and generally popular program, and its future at least deserves a bigger role in the debate.
Read the column.