Drew Altman on Medicare, Medicaid, and “The Multiplier Effect”

by Rebecca Farley on August 12, 2011

Why are big health programs like Medicare and Medicaid so often difficult for Congress to cut? Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, writes on Kaiser’s Pulling It Together website that it’s because of the “multiplier effect” – the fact that these important programs impact not just beneficiaries, but their families and friends as well.

Altman writes:

“When you look at a program like Medicaid this way, you discover that more than half of the American people have been touched directly by the program or indirectly through someone they have lived with and care about… We found that 51% of [non-elderly] adults reported that they or a family member or friend had at some time received help from the Medicaid program, with most reporting a positive experience (not surprisingly, the biggest problem reported was finding a doctor).”

As the newly created Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction begins its negotiations on how to trim $1.5 trillion from the federal budget – with commentators and political analysts speculating whether the bipartisan committee will be able to reach an agreement on entitlement program reforms – Altman’s words are an important reminder of the positive impact that Medicaid has on the lives of millions of Americans. Click here to continue reading.


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