The White House
August 4, 2001
President George W. Bush:
“Medicaid is designed to provide low-income Americans with medical insurance. It has a noble purpose and some serious challenges.”
“Clearly, this important program needs reform.”
“My administration will adopt new rules that empower states to propose reforms tailored to the needs of their citizens.”
“In our new system, we will inform states in advance of the criteria for responsible Medicaid reform. If they meet those conditions, the federal government stands ready to help expand health insurance coverage to those who need it the most — no uncertainty, and no run-around.”
Comment: The formula is simple: (no change in Medicaid contribution to funding) plus (increased numbers of low-income individuals covered) equals (reduced benefits for those currently covered).
President Bush has just announced that Medicaid is being converted from a defined benefit program to a defined contribution program — no uncertainty, and no run-around! This shift in policy controls the government’s costs while placing a greater burden on the Medicaid beneficiary by removing essential benefits from the program which now will either have to be paid for out-of-pocket, or, more likely, will be no longer be accessible simply because of lack of affordability. We have the resources to provide comprehensive care for everyone. It is inexcusable that the President of the United States is deliberately decreasing access to essential medical care for the most vulnerable members of our society merely so that he can assure that his tax cuts for the wealthy will be protected. For shame, Mr. President, for shame!