You, there! The one wringing your hands, trying to figure out how to handle runaway state Medicaid spending! This might help: Our pals at the Advance Arkansas Institute (AAI) are out with a short policy paper encouraging state policymakers trying to crack the Medicaid nut to look to Florida’s recent reform experience.
Christie Herrera with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) writes in an AAI guest brief (PDF) that as Arkansas stares down an estimated $300 million Medicaid shortfall (give or take, oh, $50-100 million), the Sunshine State’s recent experience with reforming the administration of the federal-state health care program shows promise:
Under Florida’s program, choice counselors help beneficiaries choose from various Medicaid plans, depending on their county of residence—some beneficiaries can choose from as many as 11 plans. All plans offer a core set of benefits, as well as customized, optional benefits to meet certain health needs. Beneficiaries who meet program requirements—such as receiving preventive care, complying with maintenance and disease management programs, and keeping appointments—can earn up to $125 per year in Enhanced Benefit Accounts.
While looking something up related to Medicaid, I came across this Associated Press report from December 1992, when the state faced a Medicaid deficit crater of $140 million on a total program budget of $800 million. Those were simpler times. Everything old is new again!
So please clip and save this blog post so you can look back on it in another 20 years, when I’m sure we’ll be continuing to wrestle with this same insoluble issue, with a bunch more zeroes at the end.