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A Discussion on Medicaid

Published 12-07-2011 12:01 PM | Mark D. Birdwhistell  

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Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a congressional Medicaid briefing sponsored by the National Association of Children's Hospitals (NACH) in Washington, D.C., discussing the impact of Medicaid on America's underprivileged populations, including children. The briefing took place in the Kennedy Senate Caucus Room which is located in the Russell Building on Capitol Hill.  This room is one of my favorite places in DC.  I had the opportunity to make a presentation in this room when I was Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for the state of Kentucky.

The briefing, titled "Weighing the Options for Children's Health Care and Medicaid: First Do No Harm," was moderated by Mark Wietecha, the new chief executive officer of NACH, NACHRI and CHCA.  I was glad to have the opportunity to reconnect with Mark.  He had worked for UK HealthCare in a consulting capacity.  The panelists were  Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, immediate-past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Joan Alker, co-director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families; and Dianne and Carissa Malley, a parent and child with special health care needs, participated as panelists during the briefing. 

Each of these panelists stressed the importance of preserving Medicaid during these difficult economic times. Since the mid-1960s, this program is the only safety net that millions of underprivileged/vulnerable populations have to fall back on during times of illness and need.

Thank you to the NACH for sponsoring such an informative, timely panel.

Also of interest is a new report by Georgetown University released in conjunction with this briefing. This report details the progress being made in children's health insurance coverage in recent years. I encourage you to take a look at this interesting study.

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Panelists from left to right: Mark Wietecha, CEO of NACH, NACHRI, and CHCA, Joan Walker, co-director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, immediate-past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dianne and Carissa Malley

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Dianne and Carissa Malley gave a touching testimony of  about the importance of Medicaid in protecting children with complex medical needs.

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