The Washington Post reports on a punitive policy idea out of Wisconsin:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who not only supports work requirements and premium payments but also a new additional condition: to make applicants undergo a drug test if they’re suspected of substance abuse.
If Walker gets his way, Wisconsin would be the first state in the country with mandatory drug screening for Medicaid enrollees. The governor plans to release his proposal in mid-April and submit it to the Department of Health and Human Services by the end of May.
The approach — which also would mandate treatment for those testing positive
At least there is treatment involved instead of denial of services. But the creation of another layer of hassle will discourage people from signing up especially if there is fear, uncertainty and doubt about the consequences of a positive test. This will drive more people back into the wood work instead of seeking enrollment in a program that they are eligible for.
I am also curious as to how people will be suspected of abuse. There are certain claims based algorithms that can detect highly probable abuse patterns but beyond that, how is this determined? Is it a tool of harassment or treatment? Given what we know of Governor Walker, I’m placing my bets on one side of the equation.
There is a line that gives away the game:
Republicans have long wanted to overhaul the Medicaid program, frustrated by its growing costs to states and provider shortages.
Providers don’t participate in Medicaid because they don’t get paid as much for their time and services compared to both Medicare and commercial rates. The frustration of “growing costs” and “provider shortages” are in direct opposition to each other. This is an attempt to cut some of the costs by erecting another barrier to enrollment.