A look below the surface

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Details about health care for the most vulnerable

By Merilee Dannemann

What are we going to do about this health care system? Or this polyglot of programs we have instead of a system?
That’s one of America’s big questions, of course.
At the recent Domenici Institute conference in Las Cruces, Dr. Mario Molina of Molina Healthcare presented some sobering statistics that add focus to the issue.
Molina talked about a category of people called “dual eligibles.”
We have heard that people in their last months of life are the most expensive patients. Dual eligibles are next.
Dual eligibles are people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.
They qualify for Medicare either by age or due to a qualifying disability and for Medicaid because of low income.
And they cost a lot of money. Some numbers from Molina’s presentation:
As of 2009, the U.S. population was about 309 million.
The total enrolled in Medicaid was about 58 million, close to 19 percent of the population.
Fifty percent of Medicaid enrollees are children, 10 percent are disabled adults, 15 percent are elderly adults, and 25 percent are other adults.

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