Medicaid is not broken

Mon, 2013-07-15 15:43

Medicaid is not broken. That is the conclusion reached by the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation in its newly released analysis  of the Cover Michigan Survey 2013. The report found that those using Medicaid as their source of  health coverage in 2012 were more satisfied than those using Medicare or private insurance.

The survey found that 65% of responders with Medicaid rated their coverage as excellent or very good, with 19% rating Medicaid as good. With an overall positive rating of 84%, it is hard to conclude that Medicaid is broken.

“This survey busts some of the assumptions people have about health insurance in Michigan. According to these survey results, Medicaid is working well for Michigan recipients,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips, the director of CHRT.

Satisfaction with Medicare and employer-sponsored coverage came in a close second and third, with overall positive ratings of 83% and 82%, respectively.

At the other end of the satisfaction spectrum is satisfaction with individually purchased healthcare coverage. Only 43% of respondents rated their coverage as excellent or very good, with 12% rating their coverage as good, for an overall positive rating of 55%.

These results are a clear indication that the current private coverage system is not working well and emphasize the need for change. The soon-to-be-implemented federal Marketplace will provide those who must purchase private coverage with options and opportunities they do not currently have and hopefully a more positive experience and outcome.

It is disconcerting that respondents with Medicaid had the highest concern, at 75%, of losing their coverage. This level of concern more than doubled from the 2009 survey results (36%). Medicaid recipients’ fears have likely been fueled by the negative debate and discussions around the expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

“These results tell us that those with Medicaid coverage greatly appreciate it. They tend to have higher health needs, and so their coverage is valuable to them,” Udow-Phillips observed.

The survey results provide further documentation of the benefits Medicaid provide to those who qualify and highlights the potential positive benefits to Michigan residents who would qualify for Medicaid under the expansion.

Hopefully policymakers are paying attention. Please call your senator and say Medicaid works – vote for the Medicaid expansion NOW.