Group Offers Policy Suggestions To Strengthen Medicaid, Save Money

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A coalition of safety-net providers and other health care organizations June 28 released a list of policy options for Congress to consider in an effort to combat the Medicaid cuts that are on the table as part of debt ceiling talks.

The Partnership for Medicaid said it recognizes there are inefficiencies in the program and improvements that can be made, especially with an eye on deficit reduction. Some of the options the group proposed include long-term care financing reform, care coordination for chronic conditions, improving Medicaid quality data collecting and monitoring, and expanding the 340B drug discount program to cover care at inpatient hospitals.

The group said the options are practical and will help strengthen Medicaid for beneficiaries and providers and result in savings that will help make the program more sustainable.

During a June 28 briefing, Thomas Johnson, president and chief executive officer at Medicaid Health Plans of America and chair of the Partnership for Medicaid, said the partnership understands the importance of deficit reduction, but “across-the-board budget-driven cuts are not the answer” to saving money.

The partnership also launched an advertising campaign to fight against potential cuts to Medicaid.

Johnson said the partnership's suggestions would create efficiencies in the program and improve care. “This document builds on our prior proposals and is a good-faith effort on the part of providers and other stakeholders in the program to offer a viable solution.”

Dan Hawkins, the senior vice president for public policy and research at the National Association of Community Health Centers, said the group's members are “not blind to the need to reduce the federal budget deficit, but we happen to think there are better ways to save money in Medicaid without causing people to lose eligibility or benefits, or provider payments to be cut.”

More information about the Partnership for Medicaid is at http://thepartnershipformedicaid.org .