Tuesday, May 1, 2012

#MMCC 2012 Live: Thurston Howell III vs. the Professor

By Richard Yadon, President & CEO, Managed Medicaid Services and Host of Medicaid Matters talk show

Thurston Howell III vs the Professor is how political analyst and commentator Paul Begala characterized the upcoming presidential election during his comments at the Medicaid Managed Care Congress today. This was in response to a question from the audience about whether health care is a Right or a Privilege. As pointed out by Mr. Begala, it is not a constitutionally guaranteed right; however, most Americans recognize that access to health care is the right thing to provide.

The real question being asked here is “What will happen with Medicaid this year?” There are two big events coming in the next several months that have potentially significant impacts on the future of Medicaid. One event is the Supreme Court’s decision in June about ACA and the second is the presidential election. Mr. Begala’s answer to this question is that no one really knows. One thing that could happen, however, is that we all lose sight as to what Medicaid is really about.

Whether it is a right or a privilege is immaterial to the Medicaid population. They are people who need help accessing and affording essential health care. The debate about how to best pay for this is a legitimate discussion. We have the means and expertise to help those who need it most. That is what everyone at this Congress is focused on. We will be hearing a lot about Block Grants, budget proposals, eligibility limits, constitutional considerations, and campaign promises for the rest of this year. Let’s not let all that talk take away from the real mission at hand.

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