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Coalition Praises Medicaid in Letter to President, Congress

America’s Essential Hospitals and a bipartisan group of about 200 other organizations and individuals sent President Obama and Congress a letter of strong support for Medicaid as the program marked its 50th anniversary July 30.

The sign-on letter came as part of a national campaign by The Partnership for Medicaid, a nonpartisan, nationwide coalition that works to preserve and improve the Medicaid Program. America’s Essential Hospitals is first co-chair of the Partnership. The 50th anniversary campaign for Medicaid also included commentaries in newspapers across the country and coordinated social media with a combined reach of more than a 270,000 Twitter followers.

“For half a century, Medicaid has been a lifeline of support to countless millions of individuals and families across the United States,” the letter says. “It has been there when people face life’s most difficult circumstances – and it has provided a solid foundation for well-being by covering preventive screenings and primary care services.”

Among those signing the letter: two former secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, four former members of Congress, two former directors of the federal agency that oversees Medicaid, 38 current and former state Medicaid directors, and nearly 150 national, state, and local organizations dedicated to improving the health of all people.

“This letter illustrates the breadth and depth of support and appreciation America’s leaders have for Medicaid,” Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, said in a statement. “It highlights the contributions Medicaid has made and the significant changes the program has undergone during its 50-year history.”

The letter praises Medicaid for a solid track record of providing access to health care services for vulnerable people and for the flexibility it gives states to encourage innovative delivery system and payment strategies. Medicaid is efficient, too, the letter states: Even during one of the nation’s worst economic downturns since the Great Depression – 2007 to 2011 – Medicaid medical service spending per enrollee grew only 2.3 percent annually, significantly slower than for private insurance.

Finally, the letter calls on policymakers to “preserve and strengthen this program for the next 50 years.”

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About the Author

Graziano is senior director of communications for America's Essential Hospitals.