Friday News Roundup: Medicaid and the Health Care Debate

written by naehblog
October 16, 2009

Happy Friday, everyone! Apologies for the long absence.

This week, in the Friday News Roundup, we thought we’d share a bit of Alliance news about – what else – the health care debate.

On October 15, Senators Shaheen (D-NH), Brown (D-OH), and Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a coordinated care Medicaid program as part of health reform: the REDUCE Act (Reduce Emergency Department Utilization through Coordination and Empowerment Act). As we’ve explained before in our video, Medicaid is a key priority for the Alliance in ensuring that the interests of those experiencing homelessness are considered in the health care debate.

Now – the Alliance is working to help attain additional Senators to co-sponsor (officially sign-on in support of) co-sponsor the bill.

This legislation would:

  • Improve health outcomes for people who are homeless and have multiple disabling conditions;
  • Allow participating states to reimburse supportive housing providers for all of the primary health care and behavioral health services that people need to remain safely housed; and
  • Improve future Medicaid benefits packages by tracking and evaluating reductions in hospitalizations or institutional admissions and use of emergency health services.

To be attached to health reform, the REDUCE Act will likely be offered as an amendment when the Senate votes on health care reform legislation. Before health care legislation can proceed to the Senate floor, though, the Senate Finance committee’s version must be combined with the version of the legislation passed this summer by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.

For more information about the health reform bill and how it relates to homelessness, check out Nan Roman’s piece in the Huffington Post.