AHIP’s Letter To Investor’s Business Daily In Response To Medicaid Expansion

by Rhys W. Jones

July 3, 2018

The recent editorial by Sally Pipes (States Must Save Themselves from Medicaid Expansion, June 22) paints a biased and inaccurate picture of the Medicaid program.

Here are the facts.

First, Pipes states that Medicaid represents a significant portion of state budgets. Medicaid is a priority investment, but that’s not the whole story. Since 1999, the per-enrollee costs of Medicaid have grown slower than costs per person for Medicare and private insurance. In some years, Medicaid spending per enrollee actually decreased.[1]

Second, she asserts that people with Medicaid are no better off than the uninsured. That is false. Recent studies show that Americans with Medicaid have significantly better access to affordable health care and preventive services than people without coverage, high satisfaction rates similar to those with commercial health coverage[2], and stronger financial security.[3]

Lastly, the author claims Medicaid is partially to blame for the opioid epidemic. Quite the contrary. Medicaid is, in fact, an important part of the solution to the opioid crisis, making medication assisted therapy and recovery available to people suffering from opioid addiction.[4]

Medicaid helps millions of struggling families every day – children, veterans, people with a disability, and low-income adults. It needs to work for our most vulnerable citizens who depend on it – and the hardworking taxpayers who pay for it. When we promote prevention and individual health, when we focus on proven solutions that work, we can deliver better results for Medicaid enrollees and better savings for taxpayers.

Rhys W. Jones is Vice President, Medicaid Policy and Advocacy for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national association whose members provide coverage for health care and related services. Through these offerings, we improve and protect the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities and the nation.

[1] Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP; MACPAC, June 2016.

[2] America’s Health Insurance Plans, “The Value of Medicaid: Access to Care and Preventive Services”; April 9, 2018.

[3] Robin Rudowitz and Larisa Antonisse, “Implications of the ACA Medicaid Expansion: A Look at the Data and Evidence” Kaiser Family Foundation; May 2018.

[4] Carla K. Johnson And Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Medicaid Fueling Opioid Epidemic? New Theory Is Challenged,” Chicago Tribune, January 19, 2018.