Address rising Medicaid costs by tackling the underlying problems
Regarding the article “GOP lawmakers eye cuts in ‘optional’ Medicaid benefits” (ModernHealthcare.com, Jan. 13), the trouble with block grants, reducing benefits or eligibility, or even reducing prescription drug prices is that they do nothing to solve the underlying problems. Any economist will likely tell you that these moves are akin to a price freeze or wage freeze, which might temporarily have an impact but do nothing to resolve the issues.
Addressing the challenge of rising Medicaid costs must be through creating solutions to poor health, waste, inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Passing the buck to consumers, states, or just sweeping problems under the policy rug (a Washington favorite) will not make anyone’s life better. Lawmakers must think more carefully and intently about what they want to accomplish. If it is simply save the federal budget money and everything else be damned, then own up to it. David Edwards Hood River, Ore.