NJ Medicaid Fiasco

FQHCs Handle Newly Insured

Health Care Enrollment Online ToolkitIn December 2014, The Star Ledger reported on the “N. J. Medicaid fiasco: Thousands stranded without coverage, no fix in sight.” The article profiles the state’s poorest and most vulnerable households that have go without insurance and whose Medicaid applications are backlogged.

Enrollment for Obamacare began in 2013 but in November 2014, a $108 million seven-year contract with Hewlett-Packard to develop an automated system that would tie together the Medicaid, food stamps, child care, welfare programs failed.

“In New Jersey, where so many are surrounded by privilege, an estimated 11,000 people are still trapped in a tangle of digital red tape and a bureaucratic maze. These families are unable to enroll in the state’s Medicaid program, leaving them in limbo for months and, in some cases, almost a year. And unlike the federal government, which has solved many of its website problems, New Jersey has yet to announce any permanent solution.”

Poor families are falling through the precarious safety net and the backlog has large public health implications. “Pregnant women skip prenatal care, keeping their fingers crossed they’ll get on the insurance rolls by their due dates. Parents hope the day care center won’t notice their kids are overdue for shots.”

A February 16, 2015 article reports how Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are handling the influx of newly insured Obamacare patients.

New Jersey opted to take federal money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. “That expansion has added almost 400,000 people to the public health insurance program – without necessarily adding more doctors to see them.

The overflow may well find themselves getting treatment at the 20 federally funded clinics in the state that offer basic medical care to all. Nationwide, the federal government pours $2.8 billion annually into centers that provide care for nearly 22 million patients.”

Click here for the December 2014 Star-Ledger article.

Click here for the February 2015 Star-Ledger article.