HHS Initiatives Fail to Offer States Meaningful Flexibility

Brian Blase /

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new initiatives intended to provide states with increased flexibility to better manage their Medicaid programs. However, these initiatives do not seriously address states’ mounting Medicaid crises.

The first HHS initiative is to improve coordination of care for individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called dual eligibles. Under Obamacare, 15 states will receive up to $1 million through a new bureaucracy focused on duals. While reform should address the problem of coordinating care for the duals, HHS’s approach will likely fail because it ignores the root of the problem. Currently, incentives to coordinate care between Medicare and Medicaid are lacking, since taxpayer funds (and not private-sector profits) are at stake for poor management. Cost-effective care would occur naturally if incentives were properly aligned. (more…)