In A Rush?
It’s July 30th, 2015 and if you hop on to your favorite news source, you’ll likely run into one of two headlines:
Donald Trump Now Says _______________! Oh Man.
Walter Palmer Hates the Lion King (This is the dentist who “innocently” spent $55,000 to kill Cecil the Lion. Supreme disgrace.)
Anyway, here’s the headline that should be Trump-ing everything today (pun intended):
Happy 50th Birthday Medicaid!
1965 was a legendary year for birthdays including Robert Downey Jr, Dr. Dre, Ben Stiller, J.K. Rowling, Shah Rukh Khan (What up India?), Sarah Jessica Parker, and many more A-list folks. Nonetheless, on July 30th, 1965, a far more epic birthday took place when the stork brought us Medicaid.
Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 and dropped the ‘mic with one of the most important public health programs of our time.
With help from Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute, I’m now going to drop 10 ways Medicaid changes children’s lives and ultimately ours. Ready to be mesmerized?
Compared to their uninsured peers, the 33 million children on Medicaid are:
10. Entitled to a comprehensive set of health care services known as Early, Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT).
EPSDT = Well-child checks, dental/vision care, developmental screening, diagnostic tests, and much more. I could end the list here.
9. Less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to graduate college.
Do you really want your kid hanging out at home that long anyway?
8. Out-earning their parents.
In due time, grandma cashes in.
7. Reducing their risk of developing adult-onset hypertension.
Do you know much money we spend on adult hypertension?! Over $40 billion annually. Whoops.
6. Using fewer government subsidies.
Save the subsidies and save tax dollars. Go to happy hour.
5. Visiting emergency rooms and getting hospitalized LESS in adulthood.
Reduced long-term healthcare costs = the government recoups money. It’s like buying a hotel in Monopoly.
4. Less likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or smoke/vape/eat/clam-bake/etc marijuana.
Teenagers who get high may not study as hard for the SATs.
3. At a lower risk of developing an eating disorder or mental health disease.
When you have access to pediatric well-child visits, you catch problems early.
2. Less likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior.
I’ll take a healthy economy with a side of fewer teen parents please.
1. Taking up only 20% of Medicaid costs yet make up almost 50% of the beneficiaries.
Yes folks, all of the above come right at you at a far less cost than what we spend on adults with a greater return on investment. Charles Schwab would be proud.
Is Medicaid perfect? Not exactly. But, based on the above list, I hope that on this 50th anniversary, legislators, educators, parents, and even skeptics, take a step back and consider where real investments should be made.
In our children.