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What is Health Care Entitlement Spending?

Published on February 15, 2013 by Staff Writer

Health Care, MedicareBy Dr Cheryl Anderson, Online Program Chair, Executive Program Chair in Health Care Management

Health care and health care spending remain popular topics in the media. The numbers and statistics involved are baffling to most people. With the confusion, many just stop listening.  At Broadview University, students and faculty stay on top of the latest policies and changes to ensure graduates are prepared for their careers.  The health care field is constantly changing with technological advances and policy decisions.

The government is a major purchaser of health care services. With the ongoing movements following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the government is poised to be an even larger purchaser. There is a greater focus on providing health care plan coverage including state Medicaid programs. Medicaid spending is a form of entitlement spending.

Entitlement programs include the Medicare and Medicaid program. These programs were originally created in 1965 with the passage of the Social Security Act. These programs “entitle” or allow certain groups of people to receive certain types of benefits. The Medicare program provides older adults, who have paid into the Medicare program, access to health care benefits. The Medicaid program provides basic health care benefits to the very poor, the disabled, and eligible older adults.

Entitlement programs are based on the premise that all Americans should have some sense of financial security. The most able and well off should help provide for children and those who are old, poor, or disabled. It is a basic policy that strives to place a minimum floor or safety net for what all Americans should be guaranteed.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will expand these entitlement programs. Health care and technology is always advancing. No longer can the average worker pay for needed health care out of their pocket. Research shows that having a health insurance plan is the best way to access health care. Since many working adults have not had the ability to have a health insurance plan, this act is seeking ways to provide health care coverage. In addition to expanding Medicaid for poorer segments of our communities, the legislation is also looking at methods to have health insurance plan exchanges for improving consumer choices.

Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement spending which does play a large role in health care delivery of services.  It allows those who need help to access health care.

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