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Thursday, December 29, 2011
Obama Admin, Heritage Foundation Look Toward Consumer Incentives in Medicaid Reform
By Heritage Foundation @ 9:17 PM :: 6511 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

Obama Administration Agrees: Florida Medicaid Reform Pilot Good for Patients and Taxpayers

Editor's Note: In Hawaii, Abercrombie proposes incentives which reward and punish MDs. The Florida system rewards patients for healthful choices and outcomes.

When the incentives go to the patients, and there are no penalties imposed on doctors who care for patients in poor health, physicians are not forced to game the system or choose between profitability and providing health care as when faced with punishment for poor health out comes. Meanwhile, patients see financial benefit in decisions which provide health benefit and Medicaid costs are sharply reduced.

by Tarren Bragdon, www.Heritage.org

Florida’s Medicaid Reform Pilot is pro-patient and pro-taxpayer, and the Obama Administration agrees.

In original research published by The Heritage Foundation and also submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) during the agency’s deliberations, I showed that the program’s patients are healthier and happier with their care and that Florida taxpayers saved more than $100 million each year of the program.

The Florida reforms work by giving patients a choice of the private health plan that works best for them. Enrollees can choose from plans with varied benefits and provider networks, and a monetary rewards system creates incentives for healthy, responsible behavior. By shifting away from failed policies of central planning toward a consumer-driven program, the program has been successful on a number of levels.

The waiver extension of Florida’s patient-centered Medicaid reform preserves the expanded choices, incentives for healthy behavior, and increased health services that pilot patients have enjoyed for years. Pilot patients have better health outcomes and report higher satisfaction rates with their plans, their care, and their access to specialists than their counterparts who are confined to traditional Medicaid and commercial HMOs.

The bottom line with Florida’s Medicaid Reform is that when the patient is the priority, government and HMO bureaucrats are finally held accountable. Costs flatten and patient health and satisfaction improves.

The decision by CMS reaffirms that Florida’s Medicaid reform pilot is a national model for other states to achieve a healthier, happier Medicaid population at a lower cost to taxpayers. CMS should now move quickly to approve a planned statewide expansion of the reform so all Florida Medicaid patients can enjoy the program’s success.

---30---

Tarren Bragdon is President and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a free-market think tank in Naples, Florida.

The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

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