Laura Katz Olson — Can the Expansion of Medicaid Coverage Fulfill the Promise of Health Care Reform?

Laura Katz Olson, The Politics of MedicaidOne of the key components in the recent health care reform bill was the extension of medicaid to cover low-income individuals. But is this the best way to provide health care? This is the question Laura Katz Olson, author of The Politics of Medicaid, examines in a recent op-ed she wrote for Doctor Pundit.

Olson is skeptical given that the states’ control of medicaid has historically led to an “inequitable, haphazard distribution of health care.” She suggests that “building on Medicaid—adding roughly 16 million low-income people to its rolls—will only intensify current problems and inequities. Newly insured people will still face the same second-class medical care, access impediments, and other wide-ranging failings of the current Medicaid program.”

Olson concludes by pointing out some of the other issues that will continue to negatively affect health care despite the reform bill just passed:

Just as problematic, in order to enact health care reform, President Obama and congressional leaders had to placate key provider groups, making deals with them that precluded any genuine cost controls. Thus, insurance premiums will continue to rise, drug companies will charge their usual exorbitant fees and other suppliers of services will cash in, rendering overall costs far greater than projected. We may get far greater health insurance coverage, a laudable achievement, but will we be getting our money’s worth?

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