Higher Education and Medicaid Costs


Sarah Kliff has a new post up about the relation between rising Medicaid costs and decreased funding for higher education. Briefly, a drop in federal funding for health services encourages states to reallocate funding for things like universities toward healthcare (particularly because Medicaid spending activates federal matching funds). Per my post the other day, you can see how this leads to a round robin effect: less Federal money at the state level encourages less funding for universities and more student debt, and in turn, more federal outlay on student loan programs. If on top of this, students are working in part to secure private healthcare, any impact that Federal legislation has on access and affordability of healthcare in the short term should help relieve financial pressure on student families. And in the long term, student access to a single payer public health plan would probably help reduce financial burdens all around (for state healthcare budgets, for universities, and for the students themselves).

Yesterday we observed a 99-minute work stoppage in support of Occupy Philly and the Occupy Wallstreet movement. One of the questions that emerged was how to encourage Penn to increase its activity in the movement. It seems to me that, given the vast amount of expertise that Penn students and faculty have to offer, one thing we might be able to do would be to draw connections like these. If there is enough discussion in public forums, I’d expect some of it to filter into the national conversation about OWS and the 99%.