Thursday, December 15, 2011

Media coverage lacking on Michigan's dual eligibles proposal

Here is an article from by John Lindstrom on the state's project to integrate "dual eligibles". These are people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid which makes them elderly and poor, developmentally disabled and poor, mentally ill and poor, or some combination of all of the above. The plan would place their care under a single entity that would manage and finance their medical care, mental health care, and long term care. 

Lindstrom points out this issue has tremendous import on the lives of the over 200,000 people affected, but it is receiving almost no coverage in the media. The state was surprised by the reaction it has received from critics. Despite the government's assurance that services will not be taken away and that the state's intent is to improve patient care while decreasing costs, the critics don't believe it.

In addition to the lack of coverage of this issue, despite the large number of people who would be affected by it, the subject is difficult to talk about. It is complex and encumbered by impenetrable jargon. 

At least one reporter is attempting to make sense of this:

"What is indisputable though is the genuine worry by recipients and their families that their care will be dramatically and drastically affected by whatever changes are made. The changes the state makes wouldn’t amount to a set of inconveniences. Those changes could trigger a massive change of life for some of these recipients."

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