Women, the Super Committee, and Medicaid

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Medicaid is a feminist issue, and the realistic prospect of severe medicaid funding cuts are a danger to women and girls.

That’s the message of an excellent blog post  full of useful facts and figures by Davida Silverman, a staff attorney at the National Health Law Program.

As Davida writes:

As a whole, these cuts harm women, and their families, who depend on Medicaid for health care because the cuts negatively impact their access to providers and services.  For example, some states, like California, have cut medical provider reimbursement rates.  When reimbursement rates are too low, providers pull out of the program, and make it even harder for Medicaid enrollees to gain timely access to services they need.  Meanwhile, changes in some states, like Arizona, are forcing thousands of low-income and under-resourced individuals to go without Medicaid coverage.

In addition, the recent economic climate has spurred more states to run their Medicaid programs through managed care organizations (MCOs) as a way to save money.  MCOs are attractive for states because the state pays a flat (capitated) amount to the MCO, regardless of how much or how little care is provided to patients.  However, MCOs do not always translate to better coverage, especially when rates and networks are inadequate to provide good patient care.  For women’s health, MCOs can be especially problematic; some MCOs may not offer comprehensive women’s health service, or they may refuse to provide services they find “morally objectionable,” like contraception.

Austerity is a feminist issue, indeed.


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