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Governor makes bad decision to cut Medicaid managed care          Send a link to a friend

From Bill Brady

[AUG. 20, 2005]  Medicaid costs to the state are escalating and consuming an ever larger percentage of the General Revenue Fund. Medicaid costs have escalated at an average rate of 8 percent since fiscal 1999. In just two years, spending for Medicaid has increased from $5.1 billion, or 23 percent of general funds, to $6 billion, which is 26 percent of general funds. Left unchecked, Medicaid will claim larger allocations of the budget at the expense of other programs, including education.

One way to slow the growth of Medicaid costs is to place more Medicaid clients in managed care health programs. Last year, a bipartisan task force had public meetings throughout the state to investigate ways to have more Medicaid patients use managed care health programs, with the goal of reining in the skyrocketing costs paid by taxpayers for Medicaid and improving the quality of care for Medicaid patients. An independent study by the Lewin Group also showed that Illinois could realize hundreds of millions of dollars in savings by using more managed care programs for delivering Medicaid services.

So what did the governor do? He ignored the recommendations of the task force and the Lewin Group report and actually reduced the number of Medicaid clients who will be enrolled in managed care programs -- thereby costing the state even more money and disrupting health care for those patients who were in the managed care programs. He also approved yet another expansion of Medicaid coverage, resulting in an additional 74,000 adults becoming eligible for Medicaid, at an annual cost of $65 million.

[to top of second column in this article]

Illinois already ranks 47th in the nation in terms of Medicaid managed care programs. Blagojevich’s decisions move us that much farther in the wrong direction.

[From Sen. Bill Brady, District 44]

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