Trade Group Offers Alternatives That Maintain Safety Net, Reduce Deficit
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the latest budget proposals from Congress and the Administration, Medicaid Health Plans of America (MHPA), the leading trade association solely focused on representing Medicaid health plans, issues the following statement on the importance of Medicaid and the bipartisan goals of deficit reduction:
It is clear that currently our country is facing many serious fiscal challenges, including a sizeable deficit and rising health care costs. Current debate has linked the two and understandably so. These budget pressures at the federal and state level warrant careful consideration and a strong bipartisan response. MHPA hopes to work with Congress, the Administration, and the states as they look at viable solutions and take a measured approach in not only addressing our nation's economic difficulties, but also as they fulfill one of the basic functions of government: to provide quality services for the well-being of its citizens, particularly its most vulnerable.
MHPA understands that savings in Medicaid can go a long way in helping reduce the deficit. MHPA encourages the Administration and the Congress to find common ground, and follow the lead that most states have been providing to move more of the Medicaid population into Medicaid health plans. MHPA members are working with Governors from both parties who see the value in greater use of Medicaid health plans to improve access and quality of care while reducing costs through better integration of services. Over the past decade, the percentage of the Medicaid population in Medicaid health plans has increased from 28% to 46% of all Medicaid enrollees, according to CMS. Yet policymakers have been slow to move the most expensive Medicaid populations into Medicaid health plans.
MHPA offers several other strategies that will allow the States and the federal government to maintain the safety net for children, seniors, and disabled Americans and ensure low-income populations have access to quality health care. MHPA recommends the following:
- Promote better care coordination for the dual eligible population as recommended by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform last November;
- Exemption of Medicaid health plans from the $8 billion fee on the health insurance industry, as this fee is required by federal law to be passed along to the state and federal governments, increasing the cost platform in the program;
- Support efforts to better identify and eliminate Medicaid fraud and waste, and
- Encourage more generic drug utilization through adherence to pharmacy benefit management principles currently employed by Medicaid health plans.
Budget-reducing goals might also be better served by examining the underlying cost drivers in the health care system overall, which were largely unaddressed in the new health reform law. Examples include charges for services, cost of new devices relative to their value and brand medications that cost more than their clinically equivalent generic alternatives.
MHPA looks forward to working with lawmakers to reach a consensus on ways to nurse our country back to fiscal health, while at the same time taking great care not to put the health of our nation's vulnerable and underserved at risk. MHPA urges leaders on both sides of the political spectrum to find that common ground, and address these issues in a responsible and compassionate manner.
Medicaid Health Plans of America (MHPA) is the leading trade association solely focused on representing Medicaid health plans. MHPA provides advocacy, research and organized forums that support the development of policy solutions to enhance the delivery of quality health care. For more information, visit Medicaid Health Plans of America at http://www.mhpa.org or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(202) 857-5722; fax (202) 857-5731
SOURCE Medicaid Health Plans of America