Medicaid Task Force concludes meetings

The Medicaid Cost Containment Task Force, co-chaired by Rep. Jimmie Lee and Sen. Katie Stine, was created to determine major cost drivers and identify cost containment strategies in the Kentucky Medicaid program. The program is in need of a major overhaul, as its budget is growing more than twice as fast as total state government spending and accounted for 11.5% of the General Fund in 2009. Because businesses pay approximately 40% of state taxes, the Kentucky Chamber is deeply concerned about the unsustainable growth of the Medicaid budget and its impact on other vital public funds such as education.

From mid-July to early December, the task force heard from health care experts, government agencies, national consultants, and the business community, including Chamber President/CEO Dave Adkisson. Its final report will include a series of findings and recommendations to be considered by the General Assembly. The Chamber is confident the focal point of these recommendations will be an expansion of managed care, a recurring theme among health experts who testified before the task force and a cost containment strategy the Chamber has advocated for in its legislative agenda and Leaky Bucket report. In mid-November, Governor Beshear also released a proposal for rebalancing Medicaid that largely centered on expanding managed care.

Other cost containment strategies brought to the task force include: increase emphasis on preventative care and disease management; expand the current lock-in program; increase generic drug utilization; enhance home and community-based services for the elderly and disabled; and increase partnerships with community mental health centers.

            While the Chamber is encouraged that the legislature and administration are seriously considering an expansion of managed care along with these other strategies, we would also like to see a top-to-bottom, data-driven review of Kentucky’s Medicaid program similar to the PEW Center’s current examination of the state’s corrections system. Such a tailored analysis would provide the tools necessary for the legislature and administration to make quantitative, fact-based changes to the state’s program.

To keep you informed, the Chamber will closely review the task force recommendations when they are released in January.

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