I had a fine vacation (stayed home for a week) and am now in Washington DC for the 2008 Medicaid Congress. Very interesting day yesterday, particularly a presentation at the Pre-Conference. Two presentations, one describing Massachusetts' Universal Healthcare Program and its successes (although its "success" is a matter of some contention). California's efforts surrounding Universal Healthcare was the subject of the second, delivered by Peter Harbage, former Senior Fellow for American Progress.
In spite of the fact the legislation died in the State Senate's Health Committee, it is expected to be revisited and perhaps before the legislature as early as 2010.
The thread running through all following presentations and panel discussions was budgetary limitations resulting from the national economic downturn and its inevitable impact on social service programs. At last year's conference there was a great deal of optimism in anticipation of the expansion of Medicaid programs and service delivery as well as changes to eligibility requirements that would provide Medicaid many who'd been ineligible in the past.
This year the optimism, along with the prospects for broader Medicaid reform as would benefit the consumer, has vanished. It has been replaced by 1., anxiety; and 2., a keen interest in the presidential candidates' prospective health care reform efforts.
This morning we will hear from Kerry Weems, Acting Administrator, CMS, Washington. He will be discussing the current administration's Medicaid Reform Priorities. Should be fascinating.
More to come.