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Medicaid as Stimulus: A Tonic for What Ails the Economy?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Because of the way Medicaid is financed, a recession means double trouble. States have reduced revenue, and thus less money to spend on Medicaid, just as more people are losing their jobs and their health coverage, and need the program. States have little choice but to cut Medicaid spending. Unlike the federal government, they are required by their constitutions to balance their budgets annually, and Medicaid is one of the largest budget components.

In the last economic downturn, the federal government temporarily increased its share of funding for the program in exchange for states agreeing not to cut eligibility. Today, as the economy continues to slide and more working families become uninsured, legislators are again contemplating a funding fix to help the states meet their Medicaid coverage challenge.

What happens to health coverage when workers lose their jobs and what is the impact on Medicaid? What Medicaid-related actions are states currently taking to deal with budgetary constraints? How effective have past federal Medicaid increases been in avoiding coverage loss and/or stimulating the economy? Can additional Medicaid funding be justified during a time of declining federal tax revenues and rapidly expanding deficits? What steps can the federal government and states take to provide assistance with health coverage to families hard hit by the recession?

To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored a January 9 briefing. Panelists were: Robin Rudowitz of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured; Margaret Hulbert of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Stan Rosenstein of Health Management Associates; and David Parrella of the Connecticut Department of Social Services. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Commission will co-moderated.


 Robin Rudowitz, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Speaker
 Margaret Hulbert, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Speaker
 Stan Rosenstein, Health Management Associates, Speaker
 David Parrella, Connecticut Department of Social Services, Speaker
 Diane Rowland, Kaiser Family Foundation, Speaker
 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Medicaid as Stimulus: A Tonic for What Ails the Economy? (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 1/9/2009
Event Summary: Medicaid as Stimulus: A Tonic for What Ails the Economy? (Word Document), 1/9/2009
Full Webcast/Podcast: Medicaid as Stimulus: A Tonic for What Ails the Economy?

The transcript, full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Rowland and Rudowitz Presentation (PowerPoint), 1/9/2009
Rosenstein Presentation (PowerPoint), 1/9/2009
Hulbert Presentation (PowerPoint), 1/9/2009

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Sourcelist (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/9/2009
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 1/9/2009
Medicaid as Stimulus: A Tonic for What Ails the Economy? (Word Document), , 1/9/2009

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Medicaid Spending Up, Growth of Economy Down, AAFP News Now, 10/30/2008
Taking Back Our Fiscal Future, The Heritage Foundation and Brookings Institute, 3/31/2008
A Balanced Approach to Restoring Fiscal Responsibility (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Brookings Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/15/2008
Fact Sheet for CBO's March 2008 Baseline: Medicaid (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Congressional Budget Office, 3/11/2008
2008 Actuarial Report: On the Financial Outlook for Medicaid, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 10/17/2008
Letter to Senator Reid and Senator McConnell (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Families USA, 9/25/2008
Letter to the Honorable John D. Rockefeller IV (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Congressional Budget Office, 4/17/2008
Medicaid: An Important Part of an Economic Stimulus Package (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Families USA, 1/31/2008
Letter to Leader Reid, Senator McConnell, Madam Speaker Pelosi, and Representative Boehner (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Families USA, 9/8/2008
A Snapshot of Georgia: Medicaid and the Economy (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Georgia Department of Community Health, 9/15/2008
Testimony of Alan Viard, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, 11/13/2008
Testimony of Janet Napolitano, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, 11/13/2008
Medicaid cuts compound health, economic crises, Las Vegas Sun, 12/2/2008
Medicine for the Job Market, New York Times, 12/4/2008
Economic Recovery: A Federal-State Partnership (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Governors Association, 11/13/2008
The Fiscal Survey of States (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Association of State Budget Officers and National Governors Association, 12/1/2008
NY gov seeks redistribution on Medicaid spending,, 12/9/2008
Deteriorating Economy Spurs Medicaid Budget Anxiety, Psychiatric News, 11/7/2008
Specifics of Stimulus Take Shape, Wall Street Journal, 12/10/2008
States Want $176 Billion Slice of Stimulus, Washington Post, 12/2/2008
R.I. Seeks Limits on Medicaid Spending, Washington Post, 9/5/2008
National Health Spending In 2007: Slower Drug Spending Contributes To Lowest Rate Of Overall , Health Affairs, 1/6/2009
Economic Downturn Threatens California's Health Care System, PBS News Hour, 12/26/2008
As the economy falters, Utah's Medicaid enrollment surging, Salt Lake Tribune, 12/4/2008
SC Medicaid agency cuts services for health care, Charlotte Observer, 12/17/2008
Medicaid Watch: State Medicaid and Health Cuts & Expansions (Adobe Acrobat PDF),The Title II Community AIDS National Network, 1/2/2009
Converting State Fiscal Relief to Loans Would Render It Ineffective as Stimulus, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/7/2009
The Role of Medicaid in State Economies: A Look at the Research, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 1/9/2009
Medicaid in a Crunch: A Mid-FY 2009 Update on State Medicaid Issues in a Recession, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 1/9/2009
Short Term Options For Medicaid in a Recession, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 12/15/2008
Turning to Medicaid and SCHIP in an Economic Recession: Conversations with Recent Applicants, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 12/15/2008
State Fiscal Conditions and Medicaid, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 1/8/2009
Rising Unemployment, Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 1/9/2009


Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, set the stage at the Jan. 9 briefing cosponsored by the commission.


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