Medicaid Commission Issues Recommendations
A federal Medicaid commission appointed last year by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday issued a report to Congress that recommended placement of the sickest beneficiaries in managed care plans and additional flexibility for states to administer benefits under the program, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports (Freking, AP/Houston Chronicle, 11/17).
The commission was established as a result of negotiations over the fiscal year 2006 federal budget to make recommendations on short- and long-term reforms to Medicaid. In September 2005, the commission in a report to Congress made recommendations on how to reduce Medicaid spending growth by $10 billion over five years. The latest report includes recommendations on long-term reforms to Medicaid (American Health Line, 6/16).
The report recommended that Congress:
- Allow states to place dual-eligibles -- beneficiaries eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare -- in Medicaid Advantage plans modeled after Medicare Advantage plans;
- Revise federal law and regulations to "encourage states to place all categories of Medicaid beneficiaries in a coordinated system of care premised on a medical home for each beneficiary";
- Provide tax incentives to individuals to encourage the purchase of long-term care insurance and to employers to offer such coverage to employees;
- Expand the use of health savings accounts for long-term care expenditures;
- Encourage the use of home-based care, which costs less than nursing home care, for Medicaid beneficiaries;
- Require electronic health records for all Medicaid beneficiaries by 2012, as well as EHR compatibility among different health care providers; and
- Provide funds for care management and pay-for-performance systems in Medicaid to help improve outcomes for beneficiaries (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 11/17).