State Medicaid directors want feds to relax restrictions on cutting costs

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Friday, September 23, 2011 at 11:43 am | More from The Florida Independent

State Medicaid directors from across the country are asking a group of federal lawmakers to consider allowing more flexibility in state Medicaid plans in order to cut costs.

The Hill reports:

The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) urged the supercommittee on Thursday to relax the rules that govern how states make changes to their Medicaid programs. NAMD said the relaxed standards would produce savings for both states and the federal government, but its recommendations don’t include any estimates of those savings.

The organization said states shouldn’t need waivers to move Medicaid patients into managed care. States are increasingly turning to managed care as they try to trim their budgets, but they have to shift patients into the programs in small groups and obtain multiple waivers from the federal Medicaid agency to do so.

Florida’s GOP-led Legislature is currently frustrated with requests from the federal government to change the state’s current Medicaid reform plan. While most of the Legislature has not wanted to add a profit cap to the state’s managed care plan, the federal government has insisted it be included.

Thirty-one Republican governors from all over the country (including Gov. Rick Scott) recently authored a report laying out plans to cut Medicaid costs. The proposals were written to show a panel of federal lawmakers tasked with finding ways to cut spending. One of the plans has been to limit the need for federal approval in a state’s efforts to privatize public program such as Medicaid.

Florida is currently working with the federal government as it seeks approval of both an extension to its five-county Medicaid Reform Pilot and the statewide expansion of that program.

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