First few Article Sentences
With the health care roller coaster seemingly at a halt, 74 million Americans who rely on Medicaid for their health needs and livelihood can breathe a sigh of relief – for now. Some may view the failed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a victory, but the truth is that health care reform is far from over. To be sure, there is still a mountain of work to be done. Even so, I remain optimistic that Congress can come together to craft meaningful Medicaid reform through a collaborative, bipartisan approach. But in addition to crossing party lines, there is one critical thing that must happen.
Members of Congress must heed advice from those of us who know how health care works. If it is not already clear from the theatrics that have played out on the national stage, our health care system is remarkably complex. As many folks came to realize, Medicaid – the federal-state health insurance program for low-income U.S. residents – is a major and critical component of health care. Due in part to its expansion under the ACA to include all individuals and families earning below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, it is now the single largest payer for health care in the United States. As the CEO of a publicly-run Medicaid plan whose mission is to serve the most vulnerable populations, I would argue that Medicaid has headed in the right direction. But make no mistake – there is plenty of room for improvement.