Kaiser Weekly Update
Friday, October 1, 2010
New and Noteworthy
A new 50-state survey of Medicaid officials released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) finds that as a result of the recession states across the country saw rapid growth in Medicaid enrollment and spending over the last year and expect more growth - though at a slower pace - in fiscal year 2011. States reported an average increase in Medicaid spending of 8.8 percent in fiscal 2010, well above original projections of 6.3 percent, as recession-driven unemployment contributed to a record 3.7 million increase in the number of people enrolled in Medicaid between December 2008 and December 2009. States expect slower spending and enrollment growth in fiscal 2011, but are concerned about the potential fiscal shortfalls with the impending end of enhanced federal assistance provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in June 2011. At the same time they must prepare for expanded coverage through Medicaid in 2014 as part of the new health reform law. KCMU released the budget survey and two related reports during a public briefing on state Medicaid programs, the recession and health reform moderated by Diane Rowland, Executive Vice President of the Foundation and Executive Director of KCMU, in the Foundation's Barbara Jordan Conference Center on Sept. 30.
In his latest column, the Kaiser Family Foundation's President and CEO explores the potential impact of health care issues for the upcoming midterm elections. You can read the full column online.
Six months since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and a month and a half before the midterm congressional elections, Kaiser's September Health Tracking Poll finds the public remains divided on the new law. Public confusion over the new health law has risen to its highest point since April. When it comes to voter turnout and vote choice, the September tracking survey suggests that, at least at this point, health reform is not playing a major role or providing a decisive advantage to one party's position over the other. Meanwhile, while the views of independents have consistently appeared to be hovering midway between the majority support expressed by Democrats and the majority opposition expressed by Republicans - a balance waiting to tilt the public party's views decisively in favor or opposed once and for all - an analysis of the September tracking data reveals that in fact most independents look much like their partisan brethren in having embraced or rejected the new law. The September poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation's public opinion research team. The poll is available online.
The Foundation's KCMU has released an updated version of the fact sheet, The Uninsured and the Difference Health Insurance Makes. The fact sheet, which now includes recently released Census data covering the year 2009, describes the characteristics of the uninsured population, the difference that health insurance makes and why a record 50 million people in the U.S. were uninsured last year. The fact sheet is available online.
Updated Fact Sheet on Medicaid and Long-Term Care Services and Supports
KaiserEDU.org has been outfitted with a new look this semester. Sections dedicated to Students or Faculty now makes it easier to find the content and tools that are appropriate for each group. Topics like Health and Government and Delivery Systems have been added to provide central locations for related materials and a new narrated slide tutorial by Jennifer Tolbert, M.P.H., associate director of Kaiser's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured provides an overview,of the health reform law. KaiserEDU is available online.
This month's report includes items about hospital efforts nationally to improve care and service for their diverse patient populations and a Boston effort to address neighborhood health disparities. It also examines a study assessing racial and other disparities involving primary care, quality of care, and health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries. The monthly update synthesizes news coverage from print and broadcast news sources related to health and health care issues that affect underserved and racial and ethnic communities as well as providing summaries of relevant journal articles and other research developments in the field. You can sign up to receive the free report via email by visiting Kaiser's online subscription site and selecting the "Minority Health" topic within the kff.org Kaiser Update section online.