|By Dion Lefler, The Wichita Eagle|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"I think people think that
"They may think it's the Pac-Man of the federal budget, and of late
Neuman heads the foundation's Program on Medicare Policy and its Project on
Neuman said one of the key themes of her speech will be that
"For each of the past several years, the
She said there have been a lot of misconceptions that the system is in trouble because it makes up 15 percent of the federal budget and has been part of ongoing debates in
"A couple years ago ... there was a lot of attention given to policies that could slow the growth of
The current strength of the system is "good news, because while it's true there is an aging population and there are more and more people coming on to
One idea Neuman is leery of is the proposed Health Care Compact.
Under that scenario, the federal government would give participating states the funding that now goes to
Deeply opposed to the federal ACA, the
Compact supporters say the states are in a better position to tailor health programs to their needs instead of having to follow "one-size-fits-all" rules from
In a signing statement when he approved the bill in April, Brownback said: "The Health Care Compact will allow states to restore and protect
Neuman said the compact concept "raises a lot of questions" about the future of medical care for the elderly.
"That's where the devil's in the details because it would depend on how the compact is written and whether under the compact there would be an entitlement to a defined set of services, clearly spelled out and legally enforceable," she said.
"With respect to
If the federal government turns over the federal dollars for
In addition, she said, "It breaks apart the broad insurance pool, it breaks apart the sense of we're all in it together."
And it is uncertain whether states would continue to fund
"So a question would be if you start to break apart the program, will the additional dollars that flow for rural hospitals continue to flow?" she said. "That would be a question for rural states and for other states, they might be looking for additional help that flows to teaching hospitals.
"In that kind of a situation, you'd want to know if we're not all in it together, do the various subsidies that the federal government has agreed to, will they continue?"
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