Headlines: June 17, 2011
by Tony Kikendall
The Obama Administration's Medicaid benefits end at the end of this month. Two year ago, the Administration gave $90 billion to the States for Medicaid, and this money will run out at the end of June. This will probably prompt states to cut their Medicaid programs. This in turn will have an effect on doctors' behavior, possibly causing them to accept fewer Medicaid patients or increase the cost to treat patients with private insurance. Given the current fight over the deficit in Congress, it is very unlikely that the money will be extended.
A study has shown that children with Medicaid are unlikely to receive treatment as speedy as their counterparts with private insurance. The study called 273 health care organizations, posing as a parent, and claimed that their child had medical problems which were not emergencies. The callers who claimed to have Medicaid were denied an appointment 66% of the time, whereas those who claimed to have private insurance were only denied 11% of the time. Amongst clinics that accepted both Medicaid and private insurance patients, the waiting time for those with Medicaid was an average of 22 days longer than it was for those with private insurance.
This week, Johnson and Johnson communicated that it will no longer make stents. As a result, the company will lose 900 to 1,000 workers. Heart stents are not being used as often as they once were, with more patients using drugs to accomplish the same results in a more efficient manner.
Tony Kikendall is a rising second year law student at Boston University. Please feel free to email him with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.