Letter: Medicaid modernization a positive shift

There are a lot of reasons to support Medicaid modernization. For recipients, the most important reason is likely the superior care they can count on. When the move was made from old Medicaid to a modern managed care model, patients were the biggest winners. They went from a health care delivery system based on volume to one based on value. They gained health outcome metrics with nearly 1,000 measurable results and significantly greater access to providers.

For non-recipients, Medicaid modernization has provided taxpayers with an unprecedented degree of transparency and accountability. Wasted governmental dollars on improper payments to providers is now a thing of the past. The state’s old fee-for service model had an improper payment rate of 9.9 percent. This added up to more than $318 million in unnecessary expenditures. Better accounting and tracking reduced this expenditure figure to zero after the first three months under the new plan.

Medicaid modernization has been a positive shift for Iowa. Placing the oversight of this $5 billion enterprise under the control of three professional managed care organizations was the right move for recipients. It also set the state on a course for saving millions of dollars this fiscal year. This is important, considering the governor’s recent announcement of significant budget cuts for numerous agencies and programs. It is hard to imagine how deep the cuts may have gotten had Medicaid modernization not saved so much money in the budget.

Dave Solberg


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