Is Real Medicaid Reform Possible? Two States–Indiana And Rhode Island–Show That It Is
TWO STATES, Rhode Island and Indiana, have been able to make major changes to the traditional Medicaid programs, which allowed them to curb costs and enhance their recipients’ quality of care. Patient satisfaction went up sharply. In 2009 Rhode Island sought and won an unprecedented waiver from Washington. . . As Alexander noted, “These reforms, in turn, gave patients greater independence and better outcomes, and their satisfaction soared. . . . The imaginative remedies we implemented were so responsive and customized to our patients’ needs that their experiences and health improved even as we spent less.” . . . Indiana instituted even better Medicaid reform. The Hoosier State has long pushed the idea of health savings accounts (HSAs) coupled with high-deductible health insurance that covers catastrophic medical expenses. As the state has observed: “About 96% of [the state’s] employees have voluntarily elected to enroll in a consumer-driven health plan option. In its first four years of offering [such options] to state employees, the state saved 10.7% annually, as employees used hospital emergency departments at lower rates, had fewer physician office visits, lower prescription costs and a higher generic-medication dispensing rate.” . . .Now the Hoosier State is expanding this state-employees concept and applying it to its Medicaid recipients.