Seema Verma, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was interviewed yesterday by the Washington Post, and her words offer a glimpse into the Trump administration’s plan for the Medicaid program
Verma clarified that she believes Medicaid is really two different programs, one for the most vulnerable and one for ‘able-bodied’ individuals. It is unclear what exactly she meant by able-bodied and how far that classification extends.
She goes on to say that not only is providing affordable healthcare for these poor, able-bodied individuals important, but also a pathway out of poverty is needed for these individuals. Affordable healthcare is a crucial factor to avoiding poverty, however, Verma extends this to these individuals rising out of poverty, gaining employment and receiving health care from their work, so it is unclear as to how able-bodied seniors factor into this consideration.
The interview mainly focused on the opioid crisis, rising prescription costs and lowering poverty. On the prescription prices, Verma said that changes have been made to save seniors $320 million on prescription costs this year. Hospitals were overcharging seniors, but due to changes in the Medicaid hospital program, she claims this has been rectified.
This was the most direct mention of senior care in the interview, so recent crises in states surrounding Medicaid issues and nursing homes were not discussed. While advocates will want these specific issues discussed such as the budget crisis in Louisiana, it was encouraging to see rising prescription costs addressed.
Hopefully, all of those $320 million dollars will be saved, and seniors amongst others will benefit from lower prescription costs.
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