The debate over health care reform in America has been a contentious one. As battles continue to wage over the constitutional aspects of the new law, a newer and more impacting debate is underway over the financial impact of the program’s mandates. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act directly seeks to expand health coverage to millions of uninsured Americas largely through the expansion of Medicaid. (Congress, 2010) This ideology of altruism to provide a universal coverage it met with the stark reality of Medicaid’s current lack of sustainability. As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act begins to take grip, individual states have been forced to seek waivers from the federal government to reduce the Medicaid programs the Administration has ordered expanded. The first state to formally request a waiver to reduce its Medicaid beneficiaries was Arizona. While Arizona’s Medicaid conundrum is not unique, the state serves as a prime example to examine some Medicaid aspects the financial arm of the components of health care. The Medicaid financial problem in Arizona is a simple one; the state cannot afford the current Medicaid program, expanding it to meet the new law will only further the economic imperilment of the state. Arizona reduces Medicaid enrollment As unemployment levels increase, tax revenues in Arizona decrease. The surge in unemployment has reduced tax collections by 34% while Medicaid enrollment has increased by 44% due to the loss of employer delivered health insurance. Currently, some 1.3 Million Arizonan’s are Medicaid beneficiaries whom represent 20% of the state’s population. The state’s Medicaid entitlement now consumes 30% of the state’s general fund spending. The new health care law forced states to extend their existing Medicaid eligibility standards of the Medicaid law. This especially affects Arizona because the state possesses some the most generous Medicaid eligibility standards in the nation. To protect the state from the economic damage the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would inflict, the Department of Health and Human Services allowed Arizona to drop 250,000 childless adults from its Medicaid rolls. The conundrum for Arizona and several other states, is how to meet requirements of the new law to expand an already failing Medicaid program. Arizona has struggled with Medicaid. In response to the recession induced growing demand for Medicaid, the state in committing increasing dollars to the program while suffering the effects reduced tax revenue. This increase in state Medicaid expense now hampers other state fiscal responsibilities. The more the Medicaid burden increases, the more all state programs will suffer. (Baicker K. P., 2011) Proponents and opponents Proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act support the expansion of Medicaid because government mandated insurance provides access to health care that millions of Americans have gone without. Further, the proper implementation of the new health care law stands to lend aid to an ailing American economy. For a state like Arizona to reduce their Medicaid beneficiary numbers has caused ripples of disputes against the state’
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Running head: COMPONENTS OF HEALTHCARE Components of Healthcare Christopher Lopez Grand Canyon University: HLT418 August, 4 2011 Abstract The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act seeks to decrease the number of uninsured Americans largely by increase the number of Medicaid beneficiaries…
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