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National Leaders, Research to Examine Impact of Medicaid on U.S. Economy, Undeserved Populations; Press Conference May 9


Congress’ recent vote to cut funding for Medicaid as part of its budget deal could have serious consequences, not only for recipients, but also for the national economy. As budget constraints force many states to consider similar reforms, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Health Policy Institute and the American Public Health Association are hosting a forum today to examine the likely consequences of the proposed federal and state cuts, as well as the important role Medicaid plays in the larger economy. Ongoing research on Medicaid’s ability to automatically adjust to changing economic conditions suggests that the program could play a positive role in the nation’s recovery from recession.

The forum, “Medicaid in Crisis: It’s Not Somebody Else’s Problem,” will be held at the National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., will moderate.

“If we are serious about the Department of Health and Human Services’ goal of eliminating the health disparities gap by 2010, adequately funded Medicaid plans must be part of the approach,” said Gail C. Christopher, vice president for health, women and families and director of the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center. “While we certainly understand the budget difficulties facing many states, we believe this unique new research on Medicaid and the economy may give lawmakers pause before making drastic cuts in the system.”

Dr. Warren A. Jones, executive director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, will give a state perspective of the Medicaid debates that are underway in many states, such as Calif., Fla., Iowa, Miss., Mo., and Tenn. In addition, Stan Dorn, a senior legislative analyst at the Economic and Social Research Institute, will preview research on the counter-cyclical relationship between Medicaid spending and the economy, and discuss available alternatives for limiting Medicaid cost increases that do not jeopardize the program’s basic responsiveness to changing economic conditions.

“Medicaid provides invaluable security for more than 50 million Americans, giving them access to primary and preventive health services that are essential to their well-being and, in many cases, their survival,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “We hope that today’s discussion will help identify improvements to the program without leaving the vulnerable behind.”


The American Public Health Association is a national association of 50,000 members from more than 50 occupations working to improve the public’s health. APHA is the world’s oldest and most diverse public health association, and is at the forefront of efforts to prevent disease and promote health. For more information, visit

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, conducts research and analyses on public policy issues of concern to African Americans and other minorities, promotes their involvement in the governance process, and operates programs that create coalitions within the minority, business, and other diverse communities. For more information, visit


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