Yesterday, three US Senators introduced the Medicaid Improvement and State Empowerment Act designed to provide states with more flexibility to manage and run their Medicaid programs.
Senators Tom Coburn (OK), Richard Burr (NC), and Saxby Chambliss (GA) sponsored the bill. In a statement, Sen. Burr addressed the problematic nature of the current federal-state balance:
“States have a proven track record of being able to adopt innovative solutions to improve patient care. By giving them more control over their own Medicaid programs, we are allowing states to innovate and better meet their needs and, most importantly, the health care needs of their patients.”
By providing states with more flexibility and the incentives to manage their programs effectively, the Senators believe states can improve Medicaid outcomes and contain costs. You can view a summary of the bill here.
As we know all too well in Kentucky, a large matching rate from the federal government and program expansion do not necessarily lead to better care of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizen. Without changing the incentive structure, states will continue to spend without restraint and without real attention to improving effectiveness.