The Public Honors College

SMCM Newsroom

Proposed Medicaid Cuts Threatens Health Care Access for 400,000 Maryland Children

Similar Situation Faces 23 Million Children Across America
March 2, 2010
Press Release #10-035

img

As Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley proposes cutting $123 million from Medicaid for the 2011 budget, in addition to the $179 million cut from fiscal year 2010, a new study by Dr. Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science and coordinator of public policy studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland, has found that Medicaid has improved access to medical care and reduced racial and ethnic disparities among children and adolescents in the state.
 
"Medicaid has proven crucial to the health and well-being of our children," said Eberly. "It provides health insurance for 23 million children every month in the U.S. and nearly 400,000 in Maryland. Unfortunately, many states, including Maryland, have had to make cuts to the program in recent years to balance their budgets.  President Obama's budget holds the promise of additional Medicaid funds for states, but that is only a one-time fix.
 
"Medicaid has improved the lives of many of Maryland's children; it would be a shame to see the state forced to make even more cuts to the program." Eberly's study also shows that black and Hispanic children in Maryland are more likely to live in areas with fewer providers participating in the program. "I fear that the continued reductions in reimbursement to hospitals will discourage physicians from seeing Medicaid patients out of concern for their own reimbursement.
 
"The state cannot cut benefits or deny eligibility. Doing so would mean the loss of federal money; but by cutting reimbursement to providers, the state is in effect limiting access to care," added Eberly.
 
The study, entitled "Managing the Gap: Evaluating the Impact of Medicaid Managed Care on Preventive Care Receipt by Child and Adolescent Minority Populations," examines the impact of Maryland's Medicaid program on 260,000 children as the program was expanded during the past decade.  The study is in the current issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. To read the full article, go to http://www.smcm.edu/posc/Facultypages/07_HPU21.1Eberly.pdf.
                                                                         
Medicaid is a public program that provides health care to low income children, pregnant women, and certain low income adults. Medicaid covers hospital stays, doctor visits, emergency room visits, prenatal care, prescription drugs, and other treatments. Medicaid is jointly funded by both the federal government and each individual state.
     
Eberly can be reached at 202 Kent Hall,18952 E. Fisher Rd., St. Mary's City, Maryland 20686-3001; 240-895-4391; teeberly@smcm.edu.
 
St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.

More than 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities, and an SAT average for student admissions of 1848. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2009 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Co-ed champions.