Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner, a member of the Medicaid Commission, offers the following comments about the release of the Commission’s final report today:
“The Medicaid Commission has produced a series of recommendations that are carefully bold, respecting Medicaid’s role in serving low-income and disabled people but also recognizing the imperative to improve the program and align it with 21st century medicine.
“Medicaid has become the largest health care program in the United States, with 55 million recipients. Our 30-member Commission spent 18 months gathering a huge amount of testimony and research to take the first broad and detailed look at this 41-year-old program.
“The testimony was overwhelming that states need more flexibility to be creative in meeting the needs of their citizens without having to go through years of wrangling with Washington for permission to make changes.
“Patients also want more flexibility to get the care they need in the least restrictive settings.
“And governors say they must gain more control to keep Medicaid spending from swamping other state needs.
“Our recommendation to create a new Medicaid Advantage program would give states a new option to provide better coordinated care for those dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. These patients are the most vulnerable, and yet their care is often the most fragmented under the current system. Governors need more flexibility so they can create a patient-centered system of integrated care.
“Commission Chairman Don Sundquist and Vice-Chairman Angus King deserve a great deal of credit for their leadership. Their skills as governors were abundantly evident in managing the process to get a very diverse group of commissioners to coalesce around a bold set of recommendations.”
Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute, a non-profit research organization based in Alexandria, VA, that focuses on market-based health policy research.