June 14, 2011 — Medicaid's shaky future and the next wave of the debt crisis hitting the 50 states will be debated Thursday, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., in Washington, D.C., when the University of Virginia's Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy hosts a policy seminar featuring two former governors. The event is free and open to the public.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat, and former South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican, will headline "The Fiscal Crisis in States: The Growing Challenge of Medicaid," to be held at the National Press Club's First Amendment Lounge, 519 14th Street NW. The program also will include three other panelists: Nina Owcharenko, director of the Center of Health Policy Studies of the Heritage Foundation; Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute; and Ray Scheppach, former executive director of the National Governors Association who is now a faculty member with the Batten School.
The ongoing national crisis with Medicaid has emerged as a hotly contested political issue. State governments already face crushing obligations with underfunded pension plans and insufficient tax revenues; some projections show states will face a shortfall of $175 billion in the next several years. The crisis in funding Medicaid and the increasing demands on the health care system by an ever-aging population are expected to make the situation even more dire for state political leaders.
In addition, the pressures of financing health care for older citizens compel state governments to consider less funding for education, roads and other critical long-term investments.