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Politics

Report Gives Medicaid Reform Pilot Program High Marks

November 9, 2011 - 6:00pm

On Thursday, the Foundation for Government Accountability and the iconic conservative group the Heritage Foundation released a report on Floridas Medicaid reform pilot program and urged states across the nation to adopt similar programs.

The report, written by Tarren Bragdon, FGA's president and CEO, covered the reform program launched in 2006 covering 290,000 patients in five counties in the Sunshine State -- Broward and four First Coast counties: Baker, Clay, Duval and Nassau. The program offered more options for patients instead of a single plan for all of those enrolled. Bragdons report found that the reforms improved Medicaid patient health and satisfaction, and saved taxpayers significant sums.

Transforming Medicaid empowers patients with control over their health future, said Bragdon in a statement released with the report. When the patient is the priority, government and HMO bureaucrats are finally held accountable. Costs flatten and patient health and satisfaction improves.

According to the report, patients in the five counties exceeded the national average in 53 percent of health outcome measures and did better than patients in the other 62 counties in the state on 64 percent of the same measures. The study also found that patients enrolled in the HMO part of the pilot program generally approved of the program. Those patients gave the plan high marks, as 83 percent of satisfaction measures met or surpassed Medicaid and commercial plan benchmarks.

Medicaid patients are similar to anyone else. Their plan options should reflect their individual needs and situations, Bragdon said. Floridas pilot achieves this compassionate, patient-centered reform and our Medicaid patients are healthier and happier as a result. The reform pilot makes the patient the priority.

Bragdon also highlighted savings in the report, noting that the pilot saved taxpayers $118 million annually. The report claimed that expanding the pilot program to the other 62 counties in the Sunshine State would lead to saving $901 million a year. If the reforms were enacted at the national level, the report found that taxpayers would save $28.8 billion a year.

Floridas Medicaid reform pilot is patient-centered care at its best, Bragdon said. The pilot has accomplished the most important goals of health reform -- healthier, happier patients at a lower cost. As other states look to Florida for a cure for their own Medicaid crises, the federal government should recognize the positive outcomes the pilot has achieved and allow Florida to implement this reform statewide.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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