Instead of expanding Medicaid ghetto, Colorado should emulate Florida’s Medicaid premium support program

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper wants to drag more low-income people into Medicaid, which is notorious for fraud, delivering lousy care, poor access.  Instead of expanding this failed government dependency program, Colorado should look at Florida as an example of effective Medicaid reform.

Benjamin Domenech of the Heartland Institute summarizes the Florida’s pilot program involving premium support for commercial insurance. (“Premium support” differs from a voucher.)  Domenech  writes:

A little more than six years ago, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush established a pilot program in five large counties in Florida with a total overhaul of Medicaid. Under the pilot program, more than 300,000 Medicaid recipients—bigger than the total programs in 17 states—were given the choice of a wide variety of plans created by multiple insurers. …

In the program, Medicaid recipients get to choose among a dozen different plans with different offerings. The plans compete on benefits, copays, and provider networks, and offer risk-adjusted capitated rates, allowing for better matching of payment to risk to prevent insurers from avoiding sick people. …

The program has achieved results. According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, the health outcomes are 64 percent better than under a managed care system, with 83 percent higher satisfaction from those in the program. Florida is currently saving roughly $118 million a year on Medicaid in the five counties, with better outcomes for the people in it.

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