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New Medicaid Patients Could Be Joining Broken System

IU Health Bloomington's CEO says the Medicaid system needs reform.

Bloomington Hospital

Photo: Bloomington Hospital

IU Health's Bloomington Hospital is a safety-net hospital, which sees a higher proportion of low-income patients.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on health care made an expansion of Medicaid optional for states, but officials say there will still be impacts because of the number of new people who will be getting health insurance.

The CEO of IU Health Bloomington says he supports expanding healthcare to people who are uninsured, but he says simply expanding insurance access is not true reform.

Speaking on WFIU’s Noon Edition Mark Moore said his concern is that the Affordable Health Care Law would put more people into a system that isn’t working.

“So until that is dealt with, there is real concerns about an individual mandate that simply expands that access and adds more coverage  but at Medicaid rates which is below cost and perhaps fuels the utilization in the same breath.”

The individual mandate requires everyone be insured but IU McKinney School of Law Professor David Orentlicher says without true reform, the expansion could just increase cost.

“We have a system that doesn’t function well and rather than fixing the system we’re putting more people into the system that doesn’t work so well. He’s right it can break down if you try to squeeze more and more people and you don’t make it work better, then we’re not going to be able to afford it.”

Orentlicher says some states already have expanded their Medicaid programs. Generally costs have increased, but because of several unknown factors, the long-term impact is still hard to predict.

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