The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is designed to extend health-insurance coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans. Rarely is it mentioned, however, that Medicaid, the government-run health-insurance program for the poor, will provide more than half of that new coverage under the law. The PPACA assigns Medicaid this central role, despite long-standing concerns about Medicaid’s costs and the quality of its care.
This brief describes the inadequate health outcomes of Medicaid patients and how those outcomes are tied to the program’s penurious payments to health-care providers. It calls into question the wisdom of expanding this flawed program before enacting sustainable reforms that improve access and quality while responsibly controlling costs for state and federal taxpayers.