AMAC Action On Capitol Hill

AMAC on Capitol Hill

andrew-mangioneAs scores of information make its way through the political grapevine every day, AMAC’s constant presence on Capitol Hill makes it possible to bring our members the facts they need to know – especially when it concerns the delivery of their health care.  On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to address “the need for Medicaid reform.”  The focus of the hearing centered on states’ involvement in the reform process, given the broad leeway states are given to determine Medicaid eligibility and how the program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions.

“When it comes to health care, Washington doesn’t always know best,” admitted Representative Fred Upton (R-MI).  Upton, along with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), released a comprehensive blueprint for “Making Medicaid Work” on May 1, 2013.  Their proposal highlights the need for “solutions for sustainable welfare reform [to come] from the states, [instead of] the one-size-fits-all social engineering [offered by] Washington” – a theme reiterated throughout the hearing.  By “responding to bold ideas from forward-thinking states to improve the quality of care in their Medicaid programs,” Upton and Hatch place the states back in the Medicaid driver’s seat.

Experts in the fields of health care and Medicaid, who testified during the hearing, agreed that providing local and state governments with flexibility and accountability are key factors in improving the current system.  Certain states have already improved the quality of their Medicaid care and have reduced wasteful spending by using a Value Based Insurance Design – a system that organizes the delivery of care based on individual needs.  Other state programs empower Medicaid recipients by using a model similar to a Health Management Organization (HMO) that provides an insurance account with funds that carry over and replenish every month.  Altogether, working with individuals to create the most effective plans for each beneficiary has proven valuable in improving the overall care provided through Medicaid.

Tony Keck, the Director of Health and Human Services for the State of South Carolina, reaffirmed the need to personalize Medicaid programs at the lowest level of government possible.  Keck explained that a discrepancy in needs exists in different geographic areas, causing health care systems to vary from state to state in their appearance, as they seek to meet the specific needs of their citizens.  When questioned on this issue, he responded, “Where the rubber meets the road in South Carolina or Louisiana is much different than in other states.”  In giving states heightened flexibility to create specific plans for prevention and health outcomes, beneficiaries, providers, and states themselves are likely to benefit.

In the coming months, states’ management of Medicaid will continue to be a subject of major scrutiny as the Obama administration preps for the January 1, 2014 controversial expansion of the program at the state level.  As an organization committed to fighting for better health care for our members, AMAC will continue to monitor the latest news related to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion as well as the steps Congress takes toward further Medicaid reform.

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Gloria Langley
8 years ago

Each person should be given the opportunity to act responsible and be given a health savings plan.They should determine their needs. One thing which scares me is the Obama care health plan. The corruption and politics is much too rife for one to be involved in centralized health care. Each state may benefit by setting up a HMO were the focus is education and management.Can nothing be done to dismantle Obama care?

Tony Costa
8 years ago

Health care savings accounts should replace the deductions for Medicare on paychecks. this would remove the need for the state to provide healthcare. People can buy catastrophic health insurance on the FREE-market from insurance company’s competing nationwide. It will work/

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