There is something called “doc-fix” that occurs regularly in Washington. This involves the wrangling between politicians to come up with funds to pay doctors for providing Medicare services, geared at 65 or older individuals which and often cost far more than their returns.
So our legislators come up with short-term funds to pay Medicare doctors – at least until the short-term fund gets depleted. Then we have to start the process all over again.
Now we have that same problem with Medicaid, which aims to cover a wider range of low and medium-income Americans.
The problem is that Medicaid paid doctors significantly less than their already-underpaid Medicare counterparts. So now we are facing another doc-fix dilemma: one for Medicare and the retiring baby boomers that it covers and another for Medicaid and the average American it covers.
The only problem here is that the folks covered by Medicaid are not as politically active as those covered by Medicare.
Older Americans tend to form stronger voting blocs than younger, lower-income Americans. The pressure they can put on politicians ensures that Medicare will always get the doc-fix it needs to stay afloat. And then you have Republican’s opposition to Medicaid, which is often tagged Obamacare. Combine the strong political support for Medicare and a hostile political party and we will eventually see Medicaid choked out of cash.
That is unless the average American Jane and Joe gets up and becomes as politically active – if not more so – than their older counterparts.
There are a lot of Americans that are covered by Medicaid, but they either don’t know or don’t care about politics. Getting these folks riled up to support the political parties and their pro-healthcare laws is the key to keeping Medicaid as well funded as it is today.
We can all help by learning more about what Medicaid has to offer in the first place. Once its value becomes apparent, then I’d be willing to bet that a lot more Americans will be willing to fight for it to stay alive.