The evolution of health care policy has influenced programs such as Medicaid and Medicare in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, the services covered by these organizations have increased over time. For Medicaid, evolutionary changes in health care policy have most significantly impacted the number of individuals for whom these services are available. For example, the 1988 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act increased the amount of coverage for certain types of procedures (Anderson, 2016), and the Affordable Care Act of 2010 provided for the coverage of more preventive services (“The Affordable Care Act & Medicare”).
Over the years, Medicaid has also been made available to an increasingly large population of needy patients. In particular, there was a significant increase in the number of patients eligible for Medicaid that resulted from the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The number of patients covered by Medicare has changed less significantly over time, as it has been available for Americans ages 65 and over since its inception in 1965, but there have been some instances in which health care policy changes have resulted in shorter wait times for patients with disabilities (Anderson, 2016).
One Medicaid policy in the state of Illinois that should be amended is the current policy on funding for abortions, as set forth by the Henry Hyde Amendment. This policy stipulates that Medicaid can only cover abortion services in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest (“Ensure That Illniois Allows Full Access”). I would amend this policy so that Medicaid would cover expand abortion services for women regardless of these circumstances. There are many personal and medical reasons why a woman may choose to end a pregnancy, and they are often beyond the scope of what can be included in a straightforward policy. The decision to seek abortion services should be left to the woman and her doctor, and it should not be out of reach for low income women who depend on Medicaid for health care coverage.
When it comes to Medicaid funding for abortion services in Illinois, there are many stakeholders with an interest in the issue, as evidenced by the recent public interest in the passage of House Bill 40, which would expand abortion services under Medicaid (Sepeda-Miller, 2017). For example civil rights groups like the ACLU, as well as women’s rights groups, are pushing for the passage of HB 40, because they believe that seeking abortion services should be up to the patient. At the same time, pro-life groups are also key stakeholders, as they ideologically oppose any government funding for abortion services. Financially, the major stakeholders on this issue are Illinois taxpayers and policymakers who are concerned about the state’s budget crisis, since an amendment to the policy would likely cost the state around 60 billion dollars per year. Overall, this is another instance in which health care policy may further evolve in a way that significantly impacts the state’s Medicaid program.
- The Affordable Care Act & Medicare. Medicare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/about-us/affordable-care-act/affordable-care-act.html
- Anderson, S. (2016, October 26). A brief history of Medicare in America. Medicareresources.org. Retrieved from https://www.medicareresources.org/basic-medicare-information/brief-history-of-medicare/
- Ensure that Illinois allows full access to reproductive health care. ACLU Illinois. Retrieved from http://www.aclu-il.org/
- Gallardo, M. (2017, April 25). Illinois House approves public funding for abortions. ABC 7 Chicago. Retrieved from http://abc7chicago.com/politics/illinois-house-approves-public-funding-for-abortions/1916140/
- Sepeda-Miller, K. (2017, April 25). Democratic Illinois House OKs public funding for abortions. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2017-04-25/lawmaker-seeks-abortion-bill-vote-as-women-march-on-capitol