Rep. Ford, multi-ethnic physicians unite to keep Medicaid patients on roll

Because the Medicaid program will sunset on March 31, causing millions of Americans to lose their low-income health care insurance, Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-8th) and Vijay Prabhakar, Chairman, American Association of Multi Ethnic Physicians, Inc., are uniting with organizations to re-enroll recipients, so “no one will be left behind.”

Their concerns come on the heels of the State of Illinois launching a mass verification campaign for those on Medicaid caused by changes made by Congress to ensure all data is up to date, preventing adversaries from unfairly targeting the social program.

They are meeting with Managed Care Organizations (MCO’s) that have contracts with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which provides comprehensive health care, and acute care and support for Medicaid patients to about 3.2 million Illinoisans. The meeting is set for Friday, March 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Medstar Laboratory, 4531 Harrison St., Hillside, IL.

Medicaid covers children, parents or relatives caring for children, pregnant women, veterans, seniors, eligible individuals, and persons who are blind and persons with disabilities.

That is why Ford and Dr. Prabhakar are sounding the alarm because millions of Medicaid recipients will be without this insurance if they are not re-enrolled, which will cost taxpayers millions of unnecessary dollars.

“Anyone in Illinois who is a citizen is eligible for Medicaid,” Ford said. “If you are poor, you should have insurance. The only people who struggle with having insurance are those who are in the middle class or those who are self-employed. They have to buy their insurance.”

The MCO’s have contracts with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Dr. Prabhakar said Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th), who works closely with the American Association of Multi Ethnic Physicians, Inc., group, will be attending, along with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th), Illinois Rep. Delia C. Ramirez (D-4th), Illinois senator Napoleon B. Harris (D-15th), and others.

The frenzy to ensure that all Medicaid patients’ information is accurate was caused by Congress, which made changes to that insurance during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, At that time, Congress approved additional funding, called “continuous coverage,” to maintain patient enrollment even if they were no longer eligible.

“The passage of the Medicare Act was one of the best things that have happened to health care in this country,” said Rep. Davis, calling the program “sacrosanct.” He said it is important that “no holes or gaps” should exist and that protecting this program is one of the highest priorities Democrats have.

On the other hand, Davis said Republicans want to cut both Medicare and Medicaid, which he called ridiculous. “Protecting Medicaid is important,” he said.

Since the Republicans have become the majority in the House, Davis said, “All they talk about is cut, cut, cut, and if all you do is cut, cut, cut, all you will see is blood, blood, blood.

“They are talking about cutting out the IRS, cutting out taking money from our employment check rather than having an income tax and replacing that with one great, big flat tax of 30 percent sales tax on everything you buy,” Davis said, concerning ongoing debt ceiling debates.

He said the Republicans are thinking of requiring work on any benefits people get from the government. “We have to protect Medicaid,” he said.

Dr. Prabhakar, who is a public health professional and co-founder of the Citizens Action Alliance for Behavioral Health, said they are uniting with the MCO’s so they can be on the same page in getting their message out to Medicaid patients and those who are eligible to enroll.

According to Dr. Twin D. Green, a Medicaid health provider for the State of Illinois who is founder, president and CEO of the Link & Option Center, Inc., said, Medicaid recipients’ information must be correctly input into the state’s portal and, if not, they [patients] will be kicked off the health insurance program.

“The state will be sending out letters to all Medicaid-eligible persons letting them know that if they do not have their information correct in the state’s portal, they will be cut off and they will have to re-apply,” Green told the Chicago Crusader in a late Sunday night, February 12, phone interview.

“When the state sends the letters out to their homes, they will have 14 days to get that information correct in the portal and will have to reapply. If that happens,” Dr. Green warned, “it will cause havoc because they will not have any insurance. They [hospitals] won’t be able to service clients, and it will be a mess.”

With millions of Medicaid patients at risk of losing their insurance, Rep. Ford said he and his health care coalition want to make sure “people in Illinois have access to what President Barack Obama fought for everyone who is a citizen in America to have health care.

“If we can just get everyone who is eligible to get health care to have a medical home and to see a doctor when they are feeling unhealthy mentally and physically, then we can do better,” Ford said. That goal, he said, would be in line with Obama’s mission when he was in office.

Ford’s and Dr. Prabhakar’s task is two-fold. They are pushing the re-enrollment of Medicaid, as well as reaching out to those who are not Medicaid patients but who are qualified to register for the insurance program. “We have a real serious problem with people who are sick and creating a burden on taxpayers because they go to the emergency room as their primary health care.”

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via rk2’s favorite articles on Inoreader

February 21, 2023 at 11:31AM

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