The non-profit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen last month issued a report ranking Medicaid programs by how well they provide adequate medical services to low-income populations. Fifty-five million, mostly low-income Americans get their health care coverage through their state Medicaid program. The report considers federal mandates in four categories: eligibility, scope of services, quality of care and provider reimbursement.
The worst Medicaid programs in the country, according to Public Citizen, are those in Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.
Massachusetts had the top-ranked Medicaid program in the country, followed by Nebraska, Vermont, Alaska and Wisconsin. But being the best doesn’t mean Massachusetts has any reason to boast, having received only a score of 65 out of 100.
States are revamping their Medicaid programs in reaction to health care costs increasing at double the rate of inflation while the number of uninsured Americans, at last count 43 million, is forcing states to find ways to cover more people.
For Medicaid patients, where you live makes all the difference. Public Citizen ranked states by the optional health care services that states provide beyond legally mandated services. People living in Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Washington have the most health care options on Medicaid, the report found. But residents of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming have the least. In Kentucky and West Virginia, Medicaid programs are being modified to cover more people, such as pregnant women and children, but eligibility requirements and costs, such as higher co-payments, are being implemented to offset the expansions.