Answers for Arkansas’ Medicaid Crisis

Today, Advance Arkansas Institute unveiled a new policy paper that addresses the Medicaid crisis in Arkansas.  The paper points to Florida’s reforms as a model for success in The Natural State.

From Christie Herrera, director of the Health and Human Services Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

Late last year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quietly awarded Florida a three-year extension for its Medicaid reform pilot program. The pilot program, initiated by then-Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, operates in five counties and serves 290,000 beneficiaries.

The results from Florida’s pilot program have been astounding. In November, The Heritage Foundation and the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability issued a report detailing how Florida’s reforms have improved patient health, achieved high patient satisfaction, and kept costs below average. Other takeaways from the report include:

  • Florida’s reform has achieved higher levels of patient satisfaction and above- average health outcomes compared to traditional Medicaid programs and even commercial HMOs.
  • Access to (and satisfaction with) specialists is at least as good—and in some cases, better than—national averages for both Medicaid and commercial plans.
  • Florida has saved $118 million annually, and per-enrollee costs have remained flat since the program launched.
  • If implemented statewide, Florida’s Medicaid reforms would save the state up to $901 million annually.
  • If implemented nationwide, Florida’s reforms would save U.S. taxpayers up to $28.6 billion annually.

Although CMS’s extension has come with a few disappointments—Florida’s Medicaid reform plans now face new medical loss ratio requirements, and the state has withdrawn its Medicaid opt-out program—it’s clear that Florida’s pro-patient, pro-taxpayer reforms have become a model for the nation.

The paper concludes by suggesting that Arkansas consider these reforms from Florida, as well as Arkansas State Rep. Bruce Westerman’s proposed anti-fraud initiatives.

Read the full report here.

Nic Horton

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Arkansas Republican Policy Platform Starts to Take Shape «

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