Health Policy for Low-Income People: States' Responses to New Challenges

Research Report

Health Policy for Low-Income People: States' Responses to New Challenges

Abstract

[ Health Affairs] This cross-state analysis of 13 states found that states generally did not reduce or freeze payments to health care providers, limit efforts to promote enrollment in public health insurance programs, or cut benefits in response to the economic downturn. The states generally did not reduce eligibility in their Medicaid and SCHIP programs. Even if states continue to face budget pressures, eligibility cuts are unlikely because of the loss in federal matching funds that would result, minimum federal standards for eligibility, and the political strength of providers and beneficiaries. The researchers caution that the funding pressures on SCHIP and Medicaid -- rising healthcare costs and lower savings from managed care -- are long-term problems that are likely to continue even after the economy rebounds.

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