Cuts in Oregon’s Medicaid Program Led to a 20-Percent Increase in Emergency Department Visits by Uninsured Patients; Visits by Uninsured Psychiatric Patients More than Doubled

From The American College of Emergency Physicians:

Washington, DC – Cuts in Oregon’s Medicaid expansion program in 2003 led to a 20-percent increase in emergency department visits by the uninsured, and a nearly 50-percent increase in hospital admissions of uninsured emergency patients; during the same period, visits by uninsured psychiatric patients doubled.  The findings are published online today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Impact of Medicaid Cutbacks on Emergency Department Use: the Oregon Experience”).

House blocks Medicaid rules with veto-proof majority

In continuing coverage from previous editions of Morning Rounds, the Wall Street Journal (4/24, A4, Zhang) reports that on Wednesday, the U.S. “House voted overwhelmingly to block Medicaid rules that would cut federal healthcare spending on the poor, and likely shift billions of dollars of costs to states.”  While President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation, the 349 to 62 vote represented “two-thirds of Republicans and all Democrats in the chamber,” making it veto-proof. But, whether “Congress can override a Bush veto…depends on the Senate.” President Bush intends the “regulations to stop states from abusing the program, and to keep the Medicaid program afloat.” Still, “[g]overnors of all states and state Medicaid directors” believe “the new regulations would stop longtime practices, such as the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for physician training.” Moreover, the proposed rules “would also limit federal payments to some hospitals and nursing homes.”